BANGKOK: The price of oil was nearly unchanged Monday, with traders taking a breather following a volatile week.
Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 3 cents to $104.78 at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was just a tiny bounce back from Friday, when the now expired contract for October delivery dropped $1.72 to close at $104.67.
Progress in reaching a deal overseen by the U.S. and Russia to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons is helping to keep oil prices in check.
Concerns about a possible shutdown of the U.S. government if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by October 1 offset positive data from China showing growth in manufacturing.
Last week, oil dropped $3.54, or 3.3 percent. There was a midweek blip, however, when prices shot up 2.5 percent on Wednesday following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to keep its economic stimulus policy in place.
Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, was unchanged at $109.22 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline fell 0.2 cent to $2.665 per gallon, while natural gas fell 1.8 cents to $3.669 per 1,000 cubic feet and heating oil rose 0.1 cent to $3.006 per gallon.