Oil prices dip after weak US data
Oil prices eased on Wednesday following weak jobs and inventory data in the United States, the world's biggest energy consumer.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, fell 19 cents to 75.75 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for August dropped 20 cents to 75.24 dollars a barrel in late London trade.
The market reacted to news that the US private sector created only 13,000 jobs in June compared with expectations of 61,000. It additionally digested data showing that US gasoline, or petrol, inventories rose unexpectedly last week.
The US Department of Energy said that gasoline stockpiles rose by 500,000 barrels in the week ending June 20, while analyst predictions had been for a fall of 400,000.
"Stocks remain at record levels for this time of year," said Christophe Barret, oil analyst at French bank Credit Agricole.
Gasoline inventory data is closely watched at this time of year, with the period representing the traditional peak demand season for motor fuel owing to it being the US summer holiday season.
Despite falling, oil prices recovered from heavy falls on Tuesday when renewed fears that the global economic recovery was losing traction roiled financial markets.
China, which is expected to account for two-thirds of the growth in energy demand over the next decade, was a focal point of investor concern after a sharply downgraded economic reading. Prices closed down more than two dollars a barrel on Tuesday.
© 2010 AFP