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Oil fell to the lowest level this year as European elections stoked speculation that austerity efforts will be derailed and escalate the debt crisis.
Price fell as much as 3.2 percent after France elected Francois Hollande president and Greek voters flocked to anti- bailout parties. Hollande, who will become the first Socialist in 17 years to control Europe’s second-biggest economy, pledged to push for less austerity and more growth.
Hollande inherits an economy that is barely growing, with jobless claims at their highest level in 12 years. His platform calls for policies German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes, including higher taxes, increased spending and delayed deficit reduction. Germany is Europe’s largest economy.
Hollande’s comments were echoed in Greece, where voters flocked to anti-bailout groups, leaving the two main parties, New Democracy and Pasok, a seat short of a majority if they govern together, an Interior Ministry projection showed.
Greece now faces a 50 percent to 75 percent likelihood of leaving the euro in the next year to 18 months, Citigroup Inc. economists Guillaume Menuet and Juergen Michels wrote in a report today. They’d previously estimated the risk of a euro exit at 50 percent.
Crude for June delivery slid to $95.34, the lowest intraday level since Dec. 20 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for June settlement declined $1.05, or 0.9 percent, to $112.13 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
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