Brent Sinks on Italian Uncertainty

   on February 26 2013 8:15 AM
Traders work in the crude oil and natural gas options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange
Traders work in the crude oil and natural gas options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York May 13, 2011. REUTERS

Italian elections drove Brent crude oil prices down after the results of the election confirmed fears that political instability in the third largest eurozone economy could be a stumbling block for the region's recovery.

Brent traded at $113.73 at 7:00 GMT on Tuesday morning and showed further losses after Monday's news.

Pier Luigi Bersani and his center-left coalition narrowly won a majority in the lower house of parliament after the bulk of the votes were counted on Monday afternoon.

However, his victory in the upper house was only by one percentage point, which does not give him the majority needed to secure a win.

The stalemate shows how divided the nation is over the current austerity measures. Former Prime Minister and candidate Silvio Berlusconi came second to Bersani by promising to undo much of the belt tightening implemented by Mario Monti.

Support for Berlusconi's party shows many Italians are fed up with the state of their country, and are looking for a shift away from the eurozone's austerity minded policies.

Moving forward, investors will be watching US Federal Reserve Chairmen Ben Bernanke's testimony on Tuesday afternoon for insight about the Fed's future plans. Fears that the Fed will end its bond buying stimulus plan shook markets last week.

In addition to worries about the Fed's asset buying plan, investors have their eyes on the ongoing debate in Washington over the nation's budget. Spending cuts totaling near $85 billion will go into effect on Friday if no new agreement is reached.

According to CNBC, prices could ease further as talks between world powers and Iran get underway this week.

Leaders from the West are willing to reduce the heavy sanctions in exchange for Iran's agreement to curb its nuclear program. If successful, the negotiations could ease prices by alleviating the fear of supply disruptions.

 

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