Oil drops 2 percent on Wall St. losses, weak China data

NEW YORK (Reuters) by Stephanie Kelly – Oil prices dropped about 2 percent on Friday, weighed down by falling U.S. stock markets, while weak economic data from China pointed to lower fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer. Brent crude futures fell $1.17 to settle at $60.28 a barrel, a 1.90 percent loss. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost $1.38 to settle at $51.20 a barrel, a 2.62 percent loss. Global benchmark Brent posted a weekly loss of almost 2.3 percent, while WTI declined nearly 2.7 percent. “The oil complex remains vulnerable to heavy selling into the equities especially when combined with a strengthening in the U.S. dollar as is the case so far today,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note. U.S. equity markets broadly fell as China’s November retail sales grew at their weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years. The report added to nerves about U.S.-China trade relations. Chinese oil refinery throughput in November fell from October, suggesting an easing in oil demand, though runs were 2.9 percent above year-ago levels. “Oil came under pressure out of poor economic data from China overnight,… continue reading

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