Crude oil prices declined in Asian trade Tuesday after credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned six triple A-rated eurozone members they may suffer ratings downgrades, amid the continuing carnage of the European debt crisis.
Light sweet crude for January delivery declined 45 cents to $100.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during Asian trading hours. Brent crude oil futures for January delivery fell 0.311 percent to $109.47 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
The ratings agency warned authorities on Monday that it may downgrade the AAA rating for Germany and five other nations as a result of the deepening sovereign-debt crisis, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The agency elaborated on earlier comments, saying it could place Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg on CreditWatch Negative and all the above-listed countries had a 50 percent chance of a downgrade within 90 days, depending on the outcome of Friday's summit. It also indicated that five out the six countries, including Germany (whose inclusion was a major surprise) could face a one-notch downgrade; the French, though, could face a two-notch cut.