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Oil falls to around $99 a barrel on weak US growth

May 1, 2014

The price of oil was down again Thursday after falling below $100 a barrel for the first time in three weeks on slower U.S. economic growth and higher supplies.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude oil for June delivery was down 94 cents to $98.80 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international oil benchmark, was down $1.10 to $106.97 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

On Wednesday, U.S. crude plunged $1.54 and Brent fell 91 cents after U.S. first-quarter economic growth of just 0.1 percent disappointed forecasters who expected an expansion of about 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Department said oil supplies rose by 1.7 million barrels last week. While the increase was less than expected by analysts, it still pushed the nation’s supply to a record 399.4 million barrels. In addition, gasoline supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels, whereas analysts had expected a decline.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, was also a source of concerns after a manufacturing survey suggested growth was weak.

Myrto Sokou of Sucden Financial Research in London said the figures “weighed on market sentiment, verifying concerns about a slowdown in the oil demand from Asia.”

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 3.92 cents to $2.9252 a gallon.

— Heating oil retreated 2.8 cents to $2.9001 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 5 cents to $4.765 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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