Jobs, manufacturing data hurt crude prices
Crude oil prices fell again Thursday as more disappointing data raised fears that demand for gasoline and other oil-based products will decline.
October contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were $1.29 lower to $74.13 per barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was lately reported down $1.31 to $75.16 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Hurting prices was a new report from the US Labor Department that first-time jobless claims were up by 12,000 last week to 500,000, against an expected decline of 10,000 filings to 478,000.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported that its general economic index, which is an indication of factory activity, fell to – 7.7 this month, when it had been expected to rise to 7, reflecting a contraction in manufacturing output in the region.
Nymex September gasoline futures were down 3 cents to $1.93 per gallon while September heating oil futures also dropped about 3 cents, to $2 per gallon, and September natural gas futures were 5 cents lower to $4.19 per million British thermal units.
The US Energy Information Administration reported that US natural gas stockpiles added 27 billion cubic feet last week to bring total natural gas in storage to 3.012 trillion cubic feet, slightly below expected gains and 6 percent below last years levels, although inventories remain 7 percent above the five-year average.
The retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States dropped nearly a cent overnight to $2.73 per gallon, 4.6 cents lower than last week at the same time but 10.2 cents above last year’s levels.
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