Singapore - Oil prices sank in Asian trade on Tuesday as eurozone debt worries rose to the fore once again after Moody's slashed the ratings and outlooks for nine European countries.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, fell 39 cents to $100.52 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery shed 73 cents to $117.20 on its last trading day.
"The oil market is responding to Moody's lowering of the debt ratings on a number of European countries," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
"The eurozone is back into the picture and that's causing some selling in oil markets."
Moody's on Monday wielded the axe on the debt ratings of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Malta while placing France, Britain and Austria on warning, saying they were vulnerable to the eurozone crisis.
The ratings agency cited the region's weak economic prospects as threatening "the implementation of domestic austerity programs and the structural reforms that are needed to promote competitiveness".
Greek lawmakers pushed through a package of dramatic austerity cuts late Sunday to secure another Europe-sponsored bailout and avoid a devastating default on its mountain of debt.