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Oil up slightly as Cyprus uncertainty lingers

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil drifted higher Friday, as traders waited to see what happens next in the Cyprus financial crisis.

By early afternoon in New York, benchmark oil for May delivery was up 47 cents to $92.92 a barrel. Still, oil appeared headed for its first weekly loss in March.

The European Central Bank has threatened to end emergency support of Cyprus's banks next week unless leaders there can secure more funding.

Cypriot lawmakers are due to vote Friday on a raft of new measures they hope will qualify the country for a bailout package. Cyprus must raise about 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) by Monday to avoid bankruptcy. If the country's banks fail, Cyprus could be forced to leave the 17-country euro currency union.

In the U.S., the average price for a gallon of gas held steady at $3.69 a gallon. That's 8 cents cheaper than a month ago and 19 cents below the price a year ago.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 23 cents to $107.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

— Heating oil lost 1 cent to $2.97 a gallon.

— Natural gas dropped 1 cent to $3.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.