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Oil Prices Fall With Signs of China Slowdown

The price of oil fell further on Friday as recent signs of sputtering economic growth in China suggested demand for crude could weaken.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Other factors influencing crude supplies included a report that U.S. crude reserves rose to a 38-year high and the delayed reopening of export terminals in Libya.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was down 20 cents to $103.20 a barrel at 0740 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to settle at $103.40 a barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, slipped 23 cents to $107.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil prices retreated from a five-week high this week after China report shrinking exports and imports for March, raising concerns about slowing growth in the world’s No. 2 economy. Investors are nervously awaiting the release of first-quarter economic data next week that will shed further light on the situation.

The U.S. Energy Department said the country’s crude oil reserves rose for a fourth straight year to their highest level since 1976 as hydraulic fracturing methods have helped drillers unlock oil trapped in rock formations.

Traders were watching for the reopening of four Libyan export terminals in Libya, which have been delayed as the central government and militias who had occupied the facilities have failed to reach a definite agreement.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

- Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $3.006 a gallon.

- Natural gas rose 1.2 cents to $4.643 per 1,000 cubic feet.

- Heating oil fell 0.4 cent to $2.935 a gallon.

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