NEW YORK — Oil prices dropped for a third day on Tuesday with persistent worries about the global economy after China took additional steps to control inflation, and North Korea and South Korea clashed.
Traders also were concerned about ongoing financial problems in some European countries. Benchmark oil for January delivery lost 49 cents to settle at $81.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Escalating tensions between North and South Korea also pressured prices. The two sides exchanged artillery fire after the North shelled an island near a disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.