BANGKOK – The price of oil fell below $95 per barrel Friday after new signs of a choppy economic recovery in the U.S.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 26 cents to $94.90 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 86 cents to close at $95.16 on the Nymex on Thursday.
Applications for U.S. unemployment aid rose last week by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the highest in six weeks, the Labor Department said. A report on housing was neutral, while manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region fell.
That data came on top of the 17-nation euro region remaining mired in recession after contracting for a sixth-straight quarter in the January-March period.
"Several forces should keep the region in recession, including continued fiscal austerity, poor credit conditions in peripheral economies and weak external demand," analysts at Capital Economics said in a market commentary.
"The US is the only major advanced economy to have achieved steady growth since 2009. The latest data have been mixed, but the fundamentals look strong enough to sustain a solid, if unspectacular, recovery."
Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, fell 28 cents to $103.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.3 cent to $2.86 a gallon.
— Heating oil added 0.7 cent to $2.902 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 1 cent to $3.942 per 1,000 cubic feet.