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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oil price drops as China slows, Norway strike ends

English: The oil platform Statfjord A with the...
English: The oil platform Statfjord A with the flotel Polymariner. ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Statfjord A med Polymariner på Statfjord-feltet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Oil prices fell Tuesday on further signs of an economic slowdown in China and after the government of Norway intervened to end a strike that threatened North Sea oil production. Benchmark U.S. crude fell by $2.08, or 2.4 percent, to finish at $83.91 per barrel. Brent crude lost $2.35 to close at $97.97 per barrel in LondonChina's June imports increased by about 6 percent. That is down from May's rate and worse than analysts had expected. Growth in exports slowed as well. China is the world's second biggest oil consumer behind the U.S. and if its economy slows it won't need to use as much energy. "Crude imports into the country last month fell 14 percent from May to a seven-month low," independent oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch said. Traders will closely watch China's second quarter GDP and industrial production numbers, due out at the end of the week, he said. The threat of an industry shutdown in Norway ended Monday night after the government imposed binding arbitration on striking Statoil workers. That prevented a lockout that would have cut off about 1.6 million barrels a day of Brent crude. Brent is the benchmark used to price a variety of foreign oils, and many East Coast refineries use it to make gasoline. There was also the chance that the strike would crimp supplies to major export markets, namely the U.K., the Netherlands, France and Germany, just as Europe puts in place an embargo on Iranian oil in a bid to curb its nuclear program. ... Continue to read.
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