Oil prices slip as Cyprus uncertainty continues

Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 11

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell below $92 a barrel Thursday, giving back gains from the day before.

Traders awaited a solution to a financial crisis in Cyprus that has raised fears of a destabilizing exit of the country from the euro.

By afternoon in New York, benchmark oil for May delivery was down $1.52 to $91.98 a barrel. On Wednesday, oil gained 80 cents as the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to continue its monetary stimulus program.

European jitters have escalated since the government in Cyprus rejected a bailout plan Tuesday that would have taxed bank deposits. Without a bailout deal, some of Cyprus' banks could collapse, devastating the country's economy and potentially forcing it to exit the euro currency.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, was down $1.16 to $107.56 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In the U.S., the average price for a gallon of gasoline dropped a penny to $3.69. That's 17 cents below a year ago, when oil was trading at $107 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to $3.05 a gallon.

— Heating oil dropped 3 cents to $2.97 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 5 cents to $3.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.