Oil prices dropped today, as traders kept a close watch on Italy’s upcoming elections and political ambiguity, which is believed to have added to worries about the eurozone and increased concerns about the oil demand outlook.

Brent crude dropped by 16 cents to $117.22 a barrel, while US crude plunged by 45 cents to $95.41, reported Reuters.

Brent is about $2 off a nine-month high of $119.17 reached earlier this month, owing to economic recoveries in the US and China and higher demand predicted by the US Energy Information Administration and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

According to analysts, Brent oil is anticipated to drop by between $111.97 – $113.67 per barrel during the next four weeks, similar to a downtrend witnessed between March and June in 2012.

There is a worry that the pending elections in Italy – the EU’s third biggest economy – could restrict growth further in the recession-hit country and EU as a whole.

"Brent is about $2 off a nine-month high of $119.17 reached earlier this month."

However, trading is expected to gain momentum later on Tuesday, when US-based traders return from their holidays.

Technical charts have indicated a drop in prices due to the absence of fresh data that could influence the market, while the release of US oil inventories data has been delayed until Wednesday and Thursday.

Investors are also keeping a focus on the next round of nuclear negotiations, scheduled to be held next week, between major powers and Iran.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) estimates, sanctions imposed on the OPEC producer have reduced its oil exports, which could have dropped below one million barrels per day (bpd) in January.

Image: Brent oil is expected to fall over the next four weeks. Photo courtesy of / domdeen.