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Oil hovers below $84 near 8-month low

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[June 05, 2012]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil hovered below $84 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, wavering near an eight-month low as doubts remain whether European leaders can contain the continent's debt and economic crisis.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was down 16 cents to $83.82 per barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 75 cents to settle at $83.98 in New York on Monday.

In London, Brent crude for July delivery was down 88 cents at $97.97 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude fell below $82 Monday, the lowest since October. Expectations that a global economic slowdown will reduce demand for crude dragged prices down 23 percent in the last month.

Investors are hoping European policymakers can stem a debt crisis that has sent Greece into a deep recession and stalled growth in several other countries.

Finance officials from the Group of Seven industrialized powers are scheduled to hold emergency talks by phone Tuesday. Traders will also closely watch a European Central Bank policy meeting Wednesday and congressional testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday.

"We will expect some additional choppy, sideways trade as this week proceeds," energy trader and consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "We do feel that this pronounced bear market of the past month remains much alive."

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Later this month, Greek elections, a quarterly OPEC meeting and another round of talks between Iran and world powers about that country's nuclear program will likely affect oil prices.

In other energy trading, heating oil was down 0.3 cent at $2.62 per gallon while gasoline futures slid 0.3 cent at $2.67 per gallon. Natural gas gained 3.3 cents at $2.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.

[Associated Press; By ALEX KENNEDY]

Follow Alex Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexkennedy_ap.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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