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Oil falls below US$102 per barrel

The price of oil fell 19 cents to 101.56 in Asia on Wednesday as traders awaited weekly data expected to show rising U.S. crude stockpiles.

U.S. crude for May delivery closed at US$101.75 Tuesday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down US$1.90 from its close Monday at US$103.65.

Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, eased 7 cents to US$109.20 on the ICE Futures exchange in London after closing at US$109.27.

Despite expectations that U.S. supplies may outpace demand, investors worry that fresh sanctions against Russia may disrupt Russian oil and gas exports.

Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine have occupied government buildings and set up checkpoints in demand of closer ties with Russia.

Just hours after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited the Ukrainian capital to show support, Ukraine's acting president ordered security forces to resume operations in the country's east, raising fears that last week's international agreement on easing the crisis may be unraveling.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was flat at US$3.04 a gallon.

— May heating oil was almost unchanged at US$2.99 a gallon.

— Natural gas for May edged 0.1 cent lower to US$4.73 per thousand cubic feet.

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