Crude prices fell on Friday as concerns over European debt and world economic slowdown lingered, offsetting support from a weakening dollar and Iran sanctions.
After the heavy sell-off earlier this week, market sentiment remained low on Friday. Although some bargain-hunters entered the market, trading volume was thin. Analysts had expected that crude prices would stabilize after recent sharp declines, but European debt crisis still weighed, sprinkling pessimism among investors about world economic growth.
Crude traded in a moderate range, with support from a weak dollar and Iran sanction.
Italy’s government won a parliament vote on Friday, which would speed the approval of a 33-billion euro austerity package in the third largest eurozone economy and help restore market confidence. The euro rose while the dollar index slipped about 0.1 percent, giving support to dollar-denominated crude.
South Korea imposed new sanctions on Iran, banning new investment in its oil and gas industries and blacklisted more Iranian firms and personnel. Investors worried these moves and more sanction waves which were expected to come would cause a disruption to Iran’s oil production and posed risks to world oil supplies.
On the economic front, U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in November, the latest sign that inflation has cooled off.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery slipped 34 cents, or 0. 36 percent to settle at 93.53 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For this week, it plunged 5.88 dollars, or 5. 91 percent.