SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil fell slightly to below $79 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, taking its cue from weak global stock markets as hopes fade an EU summit will fix Europe's debt and economic problems.
Benchmark oil for August delivery was down 30 cents at $78.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 55 cents to settle at $79.21 in New York on Monday. It has fallen from $106 early last month as signs of a global economic slowdown mount.
In London, Brent crude for August delivery was down 21 cents at $90.80 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil traders often look to stock markets as a barometer of overall investor sentiment, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.1 percent Monday. Most Asian stock markets also dropped Tuesday.
Markets have fallen this week amid investor doubts that European leaders will be able to quickly resolve the region's debt and economic woes. A European Union summit later this week will address a stimulus proposal to help spur growth. Greece, meanwhile, is trying to water down the austerity measures that were a condition of its international bailout.
"The weakening financial markets look like a no confidence vote in the ability of the EU summit to successfully address Greek bailout concerns," energy trader and consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "The unresolved euro debt crisis is the primary driver of lower oil prices."
In other energy trading, heating oil was down 0.5 cent at $2.53 per gallon while gasoline futures gained 0.1 cent at $2.50 per gallon. Natural gas fell 2.8 cents at $2.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.