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Oil falls as traders eye Italy elections

Feb 25 2013 07:39 AFP

(File, AP)

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Singapore - Oil prices eased in Asia on Monday as dealers awaited the outcome of an Italian general election that could weaken the eurozone's single currency, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, dropped six cents to $93.07 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April shed 12 cents to $113.98.

"Italian elections end later today and are keeping traders cautious," said a report from IG Markets Singapore.

An average of the most recent polls gave centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani 34% of the vote, former premier Silvio Berlusconi 30%, Beppe Grillo 17% and outgoing prime minister Mario Monti around 11%.

Bersani has said he will continue with the budget discipline enforced by Monti if he wins the elections, to the delight of financial markets.

But he will come under pressure to ease back on austerity and do more to promote growth and jobs as Italy endures its longest recession in 20 years and unemployment sits at a record high of 11.2%.

A return to the days of free-wheeling public finances could spell disaster for the eurozone, which has been beset by a debt crisis.

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