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    Default Oil plunges below $97 on U.S. demand, Europe votes

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    Oil dived below $97 a barrel Monday in Asia, bringing its fall over three trading days to about 8 per cent, as a slowdown in U.S. hiring and election results in Europe dimmed expectations of stronger economic growth.

    Benchmark oil for June delivery was down $1.87 to $96.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $4.05 to settle at $98.49 in New York on Friday. Brent crude for June delivery was down $1.81 at $111.37 per barrel in London.

    Crude has slumped about 8 per cent over the last three trading sessions amid signs oil demand may be weaker than previously expected.

    The Energy Department said last week that U.S. crude inventories have risen to the highest since 1990. That was followed by the Labour Department on Friday announcing the economy added 115,000 jobs in April, far fewer than the 165,000 analysts were expecting.

    “Economic indicators both in the U.S. and Europe are taking on a more negative appearance,” energy trader and consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.
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