SINGAPORE: Oil prices eased in Asia on Friday ahead of a weekend bailout reform referendum in Greece that could determine its future in the eurozone.
West Texas Intermediate for August delivery was down 24 cents at $56.69 while Brent North Sea crude was 15 cents lower at $61.92.
Greek voters will be asked to vote either “yes” to a bailout package offered by creditors in exchange for tougher austerity measures, or “no” in support of the leftist government’s bid to gain better terms.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the poll after breaking off debt reform talks with the country’s creditors—leading it to default on a loan repayment Tuesday.
European leaders have warned that it is effectively now an in-out vote on Greece’s future in the eurozone.
“Negotiations [between Greece and lenders]appear to have ground to a standstill with everyone awaiting the results of Sunday’s vote,” said analyst Nicholas Teo of CMC Markets in Singapore.
“With either outcome, global markets continue to remain on tenterhooks as any near-term resolution of the situation there remains a distant prospect.”
The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that Greece needs 50 billion euros ($55 billion) over the next three years, while it has also slashed 2015 economic growth forecast to zero.