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Oil futures ease in Asia after Ukraine vote

AP--The price of oil eased Monday after early results from Ukraine's presidential election indicated a billionaire businessman had won a clear majority.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was down 35 cents to US$104 a barrel at 0730 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 61 cents to settle at US$104.35 on Friday, bringing its weekly gain to US$2.33 a barrel, or 2.3 percent.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, shed 66 cents to US$109.88 on the ICE exchange in London.

Candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko, who supports close ties with Europe but also wants to mend relations with Russia, claimed victory in the vote.

Oil prices have been underpinned by the threat of expanded Western sanctions over Russia's role in the crisis in Ukraine, which is a key conduit for Russian gas deliveries to Europe. But Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday his country would respect the outcome of the vote.

Trading in energy futures will be thinner than usual as markets are closed on Monday in the U.S. and Britain.

In other energy futures trading in New York.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cent to US$2.995 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 3.4 cents to US$4.393 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 0.9 cent to US$2.941 a gallon.

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