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Oil price drops close to $101 on Europe concerns
German and European economies weigh on oil price; benchmark price around $101 per barrel
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Oil prices are down to about $101 per barrel after Germany said its economy contracted in the final three months of 2011.

The announcement heightened concerns about the rest of Europe's economy as well. Germany, the eurozone's strongest member, is expected to prop up its neighbors as they work to overcome massive government debts. If the region slides into recession, oil demand will likely decline.

Benchmark crude fell $1 to $101.24 per barrel in New York. Brent crude lost 59 cents at $112.69 per barrel in London.

U.S. gasoline prices were unchanged at a national average of $3.37 per gallon.

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