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US crude ends lower after Crimea vote; Brent bears brunt

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Brent oil futures fell by nearly $2 per barrel on Monday as ample global supplies outweighed concerns over continued tensions between Russia and the West over the fate of Crimea.

While the United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Russian officials, Crimea's vote to become part of Russia passed without major violence over the weekend, and oil supplies from Russia remained unaffected.

Global oil prices rallied into the weekend as traders bought contracts to cover themselves against the risk that if Sunday's vote turned violent it might impact exports from the world's second largest oil producer.

U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated that the West is still trying to resolve the crisis with diplomacy and sanctions, leaving low seasonal demand in the U.S. and Europe and ample global supply to weigh on oil prices.

U.S. crude fell 81 cents to end the session at $98.08 per barrel, having fallen by more than $1 earlier in the session. The international benchmark was off nearly $2, stuck under $107 per barrel after Obama's brief address.

"With these news events, panic sets in for a few weeks, but it's not enough to sustain high prices," said Richard Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist at energy trading website iitrader.com. "U.S. oil should be in the low 90s based on the weak fundamental outlook."

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