U.S. crude oil settled lower Friday, on demand growth concerns after the International Energy Agency cautioned that the economic slowdown could the disrupt demand for oil. Adding to concerns were some soft trade data out of China, indicative of sluggishness in the world's second largest economy.
The International Energy Agency trimmed its 2013 oil demand growth forecast by 0.40 mbd to 90.50 mbd from the earlier 90.90 mbd, on weaker economic growth assumptions. For the year 2012, the IEA has now forecast oil demand growth of 0.90 mbd to 89.60 mbd.
China's export and import growth slowed more than expected in July, adding to a string of downbeat data released this week. The data paints a bleak economic picture, especially as the world's second largest economy has seen its GDP growth ease to the lowest in more than three years in the second quarter.
Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for September delivery shed $0.49 or 0.5 percent to close at $92.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.
Crude prices scaled a high of $93.87 a barrel intraday and a low of $91.71.
Nevertheless, oil gained about 1.8 percent for the week.
Yesterday oil settled flat mostly on expectation of further monetary policy easing after data from China showed a drop in Chinese consumer price inflation to a 30-month low in July.
Interestingly, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries yesterday maintained its 2012 world oil demand growth forecast at 0.90 mbd and said the summer driving season, the summer heat, and the continued shutdown of most of Japan's nuclear capacity supported demand growth.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at $1.2294 on Friday, as compared to $1.2306 late Thursday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.2316 intraday and a low of $1.2242.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 82.54 on Friday, down from from 82.60 in North American trade late Thursday. The dollar scaled a high of 82.87 intraday and a low of 82.44.
China's exports grew just 1 percent year-on-year in July, decelerating from the 11.3 percent growth reported for June, figures from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday. Economists had forecast a relatively modest slowdown to 8 percent.
Chinese imports also rose at a slower rate in July. Overseas purchases increased at a pace of 4.7 percent year-on-year compared to a 6.3 percent rise in June. Economists expected import growth to pick up to a 7 percent pace.
In other economic news, U.S. import prices unexpectedly decreased in July, a report by the Labor Department showed, but indicated an unexpected increase in export prices. Import prices fell by 0.6 percent after tumbling by 2.4 percent in June. The continued drop surprised economists, who had expected import prices to increase by 0.2 percent.
From the eurozone, Germany's EU harmonized inflation came in below the preliminary estimates In July, final data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed. The harmonized index of consumer prices measured under the EU methodology, increased 1.9 percent annually in July, slightly slower than the 2 percent gain estimated earlier. In June, the inflation rate was 2 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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