Crude nears first weekly loss in five

LONDON - Brent crude oil fell below $118 per barrel on Friday and was heading for its first weekly loss in five after disappointing euro zone growth data revived concerns about the outlook for energy demand.

By Christopher Johnson (Reuters)

Published: Sat 16 Feb 2013, 9:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:51 AM

Global growth prospects were further clouded by expected divisions at a meeting in Moscow of finance officials from the Group of 20 nations, 90 per cent of the world’s economy, over economic policy and its impact on currencies.

Economists are worried that competitive devaluations could lead to currency wars, impoverishing nations worldwide.

But the fall in oil was modest, and traders and analysts said hopes of a faster economic expansion later in the year and worries over the security of oil supplies from the Middle East were underpinning prices.

Brent futures were down 40¢ to $117.60 per barrel in midday trading, heading for its first weekly loss since the first half of January. US crude shed 40¢ to $96.91 per barrel.

“The eurozone data is still weighing on financial markets, including oil, but the figures are backward-looking. The most recent forward-looking indicators point to an improvement,” said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

“The risks are mostly to the upside for oil: we have improving growth prospects with higher oil demand globally and supply is not rising as much.”

US prices also found support from concerns that gasoline supplies may be reduced by refinery maintenance shutdowns, which pushed prices of the product as well as the oil complex higher.

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