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Greek vote helps lift the price of oil

NEW YORK - Oil prices rose after Greece took a key step away from a default on its huge debt. Crude prices also got a boost from renewed tensions about Iran’s oil supplies; some shipping companies said they will stop loading Iranian crude onto tankers because of pending US and European sanctions against Iran.

Benchmark oil rose $2.24, or 2.3 percent, to finish at $100.91 per barrel yesterday in New York. Brent crude rose 64 cents to end at $117.30 per barrel in London.

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Greek lawmakers over the weekend approved deep spending cuts needed for the country to get more bailout money. European leaders meet tomorrow to discuss giving Greece more funds. Without a deal Greece faces a crippling bankruptcy that could affect the broader European economy. That in turn could slow demand for oil.

Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union want to deprive Iran of the oil income it needs to fund what they believe is a program to build nuclear weapons.

JBC Energy in Vienna estimated that Iran’s oil production has fallen by over 200,000 barrels a day since August due to a lack of maintenance and investment in its oilfields.

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