New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, was down $1.35 to $85.10 a barrel at about 1415 GMT but firmer compared with an earlier plunge under $84.
Brent North Sea crude jumped $1.80 to $111.88 in London deals, with analysts suggesting the recovery was because the contract had been oversold in recent days.
The eurozone debt crisis and weak economic data out of the United States pointing to a possible return to recession were all weighing on oil prices on Tuesday.
Andrey Kryuchenkov, commodities analyst at financial group VTB Capital, said “fears of slowing growth and consequently weaker crude demand” were pressuring the oil market.
“Overall, this week is likely to be dominated by macro headlines and the overall risk sentiment,” he added.