French debt warning sends oil prices lower

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Crude oil prices slid on Friday, under renewed pressure from Europe's debt crisis, as Fitch warned France may lose its top-tier credit rating.

"(The) market is still worried about Europe especially when Fitch has revised its outlook for French credit rating negatively," said Andy Lipow, an oil analyst

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, gained 34 cents to $93.53 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February delivery fell 25 cents to $103.35 on its first trading day.

"The problem is Europe," said Phil Flynn of PFG Best

"Europe continues to miss opportunities to try to set the market straight, as their aversion to stimulus and euro bonds is holding us back."

Fitch Ratings on Friday affirmed France's triple-A rating on its debt, but revised its long-term outlook on the rating to "negative" from "stable".

"The intensification of the Eurozone crisis since July constitutes a significant negative shock to the region and to France's economy and the stability of its financial sector," Fitch said in a statement.

© 2011 AFP

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