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Oil dropped from a three-week high as euro-area finance ministers refused to approve a rescue package for Greece, boosting concern that the European debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.
Futures fell as much as 2.5 percent after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of euro-area finance chiefs, said yesterday that Greece won’t get financial aid until it implements an austerity plan. The International Energy Agency cut its 2012 global oil demand forecast for a sixth month, citing a “darkening” economic outlook.
Crude for March delivery decreased to $97.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose for a third day yesterday, climbing 1.1 percent to $99.84, the highest close since Jan. 19. Prices are up 0.7 percent this week and 14 percent in the past year.
Brent oil for March settlement fell $1.19, or 1 percent, to $117.40 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York- traded West Texas Intermediate crude was at $18.86 from $18.75 at yesterday’s settlement.
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