Oil falls to below $87 amid stronger US dollar

By ALEX KENNEDY | September 19, 2011 | 12:20 AM EDT

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices fell to below $87 a barrel Monday in Asia as investor concerns about Europe's debt crisis fueled a stronger U.S. dollar.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down $1.11 at $86.85 at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude dropped $1.44 to settle at $87.96 on Friday.

In London, Brent crude for November delivery was down 50 cents at $111.72 on the ICE Futures exchange.

The euro has weakened this month amid growing fears that a possible debt default in Greece could trigger similar moves in Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain as well as a banking crisis. A stronger dollar makes commodities such as oil more expensive for investors with other currencies.

The euro fell to $1.3666 on Monday from $1.3794 on late Friday.

"We still view euro zone debt issues as challenging to the extent that a long term solution will remain elusive," energy consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "The euro will be proceeding through a renewed weakening phase that will be placing additional pressures on the oil market."

Investors this week will also be closely watching the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and corporate quarterly earnings results.

In other Nymex trading for November contracts, heating oil fell 2.7 cents to $2.99 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 2.1 cents to $2.74 per gallon. Natural gas for October delivery fell 0.6 cent to $3.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.