SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil slid in early Asian trade on Monday, with US crude falling close to a six-year low, after Greece's election results heightened uncertainty in the euro zone and depressed the bloc's currency against the US dollar.
Greece's left-wing Syriza appeared on course to trounce the ruling conservatives in Sunday's snap election, setting up a possible confrontation with international creditors.
March Brent crude fell 37 cents to US$48.42 a barrel by 0226 GMT, wiping out light gains made on Friday after the death of the Saudi King Abdullah but off an early low of US$47.85.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was trading down 46 cents at US$45.13 a barrel. Front-month WTI earlier slid to an intraday low of US$44.35, just above US$44.20 hit on Jan. 13, which was the lowest since April 2009.
Global financial markets reacted to the Greek election on Monday with the euro dropping to near an 11-year low against the dollar.
The common currency came under pressure on Friday after the European Central Bank said it would flood markets with over a trillion euros, more than expected, to prevent the euro zone from sliding into deflation.
"We saw the dollar rally again on Friday and this is largely on the back of ECB stimulus measures and the euro," Barnabas Gan, an economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore. "Oil being a dollar-denominated commodity has been depressed by a stronger dollar."
In Saudi Arabia, new King Salman was quick to keep veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi on Friday, in a message aimed at calming a jittery energy market following the death of King Abdullah.
In the United States, a swath of the East Coast from Philadelphia to New York City to Maine was bracing for a potentially historic blizzard on Monday.