(AP) The price of oil rose above $103 a barrel Tuesday as investors turned their attention away from the budget stalemate in Washington and toward the release of third-quarter company earnings.
Benchmark crude for November delivery rose 29 cents to $103.32 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents to close at $103.03 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.
Oil prices have fallen in the last week after the U.S. government was forced to partially halt operations. The shutdown occurred because Congress could not agree on short-term funding that would have allowed the nation to pay its bills past Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. Some 800,000 federal workers were furloughed, although some were called back to their jobs, and many nonessential agencies and services were shuttered.
On top of that is the approaching deadline for raising the nation's borrowing limit. If Congress doesn't raise the limit by Oct. 17, the country could face its first-ever debt default, which experts warn could seriously harm the global economy.
Oil traders have gotten jittery in recent days as the deadline approaches, and crude prices have fallen.
"We're going to see lower and continue to see lower as long as the U.S. government can't get back into gear," Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions said in an email commentary.
Prices fell early Tuesday in Asia but turned around several hours later as investors began looking ahead to corporate earnings season.
Aluminum giant Alcoa reports quarterly financial results after Wall Street closes on Tuesday. While Alcoa is no longer listed on the Dow, it is considered a bellwether for commodities. Its results will be watched for signs about global manufacturers' demand for the lightweight metal in a stubbornly slow-growing economy.
Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 9 cents to $109.77 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
Wholesale gasoline rose 0.2 cents to $2.6285 per gallon.
Natural gas rose 1.4 cents to $3.643 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Heating oil fell marginally to $3.0087 per gallon.