Oil fell sharply on Monday, extending losses from the previous session, after elections in France and Greece raised concerns about their ability to carry out further austerity measures and renewed worries the euro zone debt crisis may resurface.
The bad news from Europe came after US nonfarm hiring slowed for the second month in a row in April, which fueled a sell-off in oil markets on Friday.
Since Friday, US crude has lost more than 6 percent, while Brent has dropped over 4 percent.
U.S. crude was down $2.06 at $96.43 a barrel by 0021 GMT, after dropping to as low as $95.34, its weakest since Dec. 20, 2011. U.S. oil fell around 4 percent on Friday, its biggest drop since last December, to hit below $100 for the first time since February.
Brent crude lost $1.66 to $111.52 a barrel, after touching a low of $110.34, its lowest since late January. The benchmark contract fell 2.5 percent on Friday.
The euro tanked in early Asian trade, breaking below its well-worn range from the past three months, after elections in Greece and France fuelled concerns on whether struggling euro zone economies could continue to pursue austerity measures crucial to resolving the bloc's debt crisis.
French voters ousted incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, a key architect of bailouts for indebted countries and an advocate of austerity measures, in a presidential election on Sunday.
In Greece, voters enraged by economic hardship caused by the terms of an international bailout also turned on ruling parties in an election on Sunday, putting the country's future in the euro zone at risk and threatening to revive Europe's debt crisis.
Adding to the negative sentiment, U.S. employers cut back on hiring in April, with nonfarm payroll rising by a less than forecast 115,000 in April, spurring concerns that the U.S. economy is losing momentum.
In the equity markets, Japan's benchmark Nikkei average fell 2.4 percent to 9,154.18 on Monday.