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Oil closes below $60, 1st time since July 2009

The price of oil fell below $60 for the first time since July 2009 on Thursday and ended trading in New York at $59.95.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 99 cents, or 1.6 percent. Oil has fallen steadily for nearly six months, and is down 44 percent since reaching a high for the year in late June of $107.26.

The drop is a result of rising global oil production, especially in the U.S., at a time when global demand has weakened because of slowing economies in Asia and Europe.

The price collapse has pushed down prices for gasoline, diesel and other fuels, lowering expenses for drivers, shippers and airlines. But it has sent the prices of energy company stocks spiraling lower.

In related news, European shares resume slide as energy stocks hurt by oil slump.

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