Eurozone Breakup Woes Weigh on Brent

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Crude Oil Barrel
Barrels of crude oil ready to be shipped

Brent crude oil headed for a second week of losses on Friday as it traded at $107.56 at 7:00 GMT. The commodity has been under pressure ever since the European Union announced the controversial terms for Cyprus' bailout.

In order to secure EU rescue funds, Cyprus would have to raise 5.8 billion euros by imposing a levy on banks that would force account holders to bear the debt burden. Cypriot lawmakers rejected the idea, saying it was essentially robbery.

Now, the EU has given Cypriot officials until Monday to raise the 5.8 billion euros needed to unlock its bailout funds, or it will face a financial meltdown as the EU will stop funding the country's banks.

The new development has caused many to speculate that Cyprus will soon exit the common currency, which in turn will affect the region's recovery and stifle its oil demand.

Reuters reported that on Thursday, Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris continued talks with Russia about brokering a loan in exchange for untapped natural gas reserves. He is also working to refinance and extend a current 2.5 billion euro loan that Cyprus already owes.

Economic data that showed the eurozone economy was sliding, even before the Cyprus crisis was in the spotlight, compounded worries about the region's oil demand. The nation's PMI data showed the economy dropped yet again, with little help from large economies like Germany and France which also posted poor numbers.

Supporting Brent prices this week was tension between the West and Iran as the two sides met to discuss Tehran's nuclear development program. Despite comments from Russian officials who claimed the two sides were making progress, the risk of a standoff remained as there was no breakthrough in negotiation.

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