Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Oil prices slid to near $74 a barrel on Tuesday in Asia, weighed by weak regional stock markets and a stronger dollar.
Benchmark crude for March delivery was down 93 cents to $74.32 a barrel at late afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 72 cents to settle at $75.26 on Monday.
Concerns over China’s recent moves to control bank lending clouded Asian stock markets, which were mostly down on Tuesday.
The prospect of slowing growth in China has raised risk aversion in equity markets and pushed investors to buy the dollar, seen as a safe haven, said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.
The euro fell to $1.4082 in Asia from $1.4149 on Monday. A stronger dollar makes crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.
More earnings and economic reports in the US during the week will provide clues on how the economy is faring, and determine the direction of oil prices, analysts said.
In other Nymex trading in February contracts, heating oil eased 1.84 cents to $1.947 a gallon while gasoline lost 1.78 cents to $1.983 a gallon. Natural gas futures fell 8.1 cents to $5.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for March delivery declined 82 cents to $72.89 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.