Europe’s continued debt woes take toll on crude oil price chart

Crude oil prices held below $99 per barrel on the Asian commodities market today as traders continued to fret over the ongoing debt crisis afflicting Europe, and the region’s inability to rein in its excessive spending. The worsening economic states of Spain and France played a major role in pushing the commodity futures down on the crude oil price chart.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices for delivery in December, a contract that expires today, fell a further 15 cents to settle at $98.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The American benchmark commodity oil lost more than $3 earlier, when the first wave of enthusiasm regarding the new Cushing, Oklahoma pipeline project cooled off.

Brent crude oil futures for settlement in January lost a nominal 7 cents and ended the day at $108.15 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. The spread between the two contracts remains below $10 per barrel.

Despite increasingly promising signs of economic recovery from the U.S. and Japan, it is the escalating debt crisis in the euro zone that continues to affect the recent crude oil price history the most. Italy and Spain are now teetering on the very brink of collapse, causing tremendous worries amid investors and economists that a debt contagion will take place, spreading from Europe into the West. Though the improvement in the U.S. has been playing a crucial role in keeping futures up, the long term well-being of crude oil prices will depend only on Europe and its ability to finally rein in the disastrous crisis wreaking havoc on the region’s economies.

The commodity index and crude oil price charts in particular are seeing some support from the unravelling geo-political turmoil in the Middle East. Syria’s political unrest and the ongoing international disputes concerning Iran’s nuclear program have crippled production and exporting out of some of OPEC’s key supplier nations.