Oil rebounds in Asia

SINGAPORE - Oil rebounded in Asia Tuesday on bargain-hunting after prices plunged a day earlier as Greek defiance against austerity measures imposed by its creditors sparked turbulence in global markets.

Prices rose ahead of an emergency summit on Greece by eurozone leaders in Brussels Tuesday, after Greek citizens overwhelmingly rejected creditors' demands for further belt-tightening in a referendum.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery advanced 47 US cents to US$53.00 in late-morning Asian trade after plummeting nearly 8.0 percent, or US$4.43, in US closing deals Monday.

Brent crude for August gained 69 US cents to US$57.23 after retreating more than 6.0 percent, or US$3.78, in London.

"The market is trying to consolidate after the price plunge. People are buying on bargains," said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"I'm really looking at this whole issue as panic selling because of the Greece issue. I think the market expected the drops but not to this extent," he told AFP, referring to Monday's price fall.

Analysts say one of the results of the Greece referendum could be an exit from the eurozone currency union, which could trigger a contagion effect.

With the country's economy gasping for air, authorities there extended an eight-day bank closure until Thursday amid fears cash machines in the country were running dry.

Ang said the oil market is also watching ongoing top-level negotiations in Vienna between Western powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear ambitions, although indications are that both sides were set to miss yet another deadline Tuesday to nail down an agreement.

In a sign of how complex the negotiations have become, foreign ministers met deep into the night Monday grappling with the toughest remaining issues which have so far thwarted a deal.

An agreement will put pressure on oil prices as it will lead to the West lifting crippling economic sanctions against Iran and allow Iranian oil to flow back into an already oversupplied market.