Oil prices slip lower

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World oil prices drifted lower on Friday as investors weighed disappointing economic data in the United States, the world's biggest energy consuming nation, analysts said.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, shed 39 cents to 76.40 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for August delivery eased eight cents to 78.60 dollars a barrel in early morning deals.

Crude futures traded mixed on Thursday as investors booked profits following recent gains and digested weak US economic reports on unemployment and manufacturing.

"The (New York) price did suffer a little bit last night after the US economic data and there hasn't been much news today," said David Moore, a commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said on Thursday that its June index on manufacturing in the Mid-Atlantic region plunged eight points, to 13.4, its lowest level in nearly a year.

Manufacturing has been a key driver of the US recovery from its worst recession in decades.

New claims for jobless insurance benefits rose for a second week running, the US Labor Department reported, dashing expectations of a fall.

The US benchmark oil futures contract, which is traded at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), was also affected by high inventories at its Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub.

The US government's Department of Energy said on Wednesday that Cushing stocks rose 200,000 barrels to 37.6 million barrels in the week to June 11. High inventories indicate weaker demand.


© 2010 AFP

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