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Oil prices climb on worries over continuing problems in Ukraine

The price of oil rebounded above US$101 per barrel Monday as mounting tensions in Ukraine raised the likelihood of further Western economic sanctions against major energy producer Russia.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery gained 42 cents to US$101.02 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had finished last week with a decline of US$3.70 a barrel, or 3.5 percent, to US$100.60.

Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, rose 23 cents to US$109.81 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The Group of Seven industrial nations and other European governments were preparing fresh sanctions against Russia for failing to comply with an agreement reached in Geneva on defusing the crisis in Ukraine. The crisis escalated as pro-Moscow insurgents in the east began taking hostages, including reporters and pro-Ukraine activists.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline edged higher to US$3.04 a gallon.

— Heating oil was unchanged at US$2.99 a gallon.

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