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Oil prices remain steady as Cyprus financial bailout gets second look, causes jitters

The price of oil was steady Tuesday as a financial rescue package to keep Cyprus from bankruptcy came under renewed scrutiny.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was down 1 cent to $94.80 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.10 to finish at $94.81 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday. That was the highest New York closing since Feb. 20.

Cyprus secured 10 billion euros ($13 billion) of rescue loans early Monday, just hours before a deadline set by the European Central Bank. Under the deal, the country agreed to slash its oversized banking sector and inflict hefty losses on large depositors in troubled banks.

The deal was initially applauded, but later sparked worry and stock market losses across Europe after Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said inflicting losses on the banks' shareholders, bondholders and large depositors should become Europe's default approach for dealing with ailing lenders.

Matt Basi of CMC Markets said in an email commentary that the drama surrounding Cyprus "has knocked the confidence of many deposit holders across Europe that policy makers will struggle to win back."

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 4 cents to $108.13 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.1 cent to $3.055 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 0.1 cent to $2.983 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.6 cents to $3.891 per 1,000 cubic feet.