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Crude oil drops following large increase

AP-- The price of crude oil dropped Tuesday after a big jump a day earlier over jitters that Russia's military advance into Ukraine could result in economic sanctions against one of the world's major energy suppliers.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was down 47 cents to US$104.45 a barrel at 0620 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$2.33 to close at US$104.on Monda. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was down 73 cents at US$110.47 a barrel.

Oil prices spiked Monday over the prospect of violent upheaval in the heart of Europe.

Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia said the market is watching Europe's modest response to Russia's actions. Unlike the U.S. and Canada, Europe has a trickier path to tread because one third of its oil and gas comes from Russia, mostly piped through Ukraine. A mild winter means European inventories are high so it could withstand a curtailment of Russian supply, he said.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was nearly unchanged at US$3.018 per gallon.

— Heating oil fell 0.3 cents to US$3.077 per gallon.

— Natural gas was down 5 cents to US$4.542 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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