Oil Slides on Worries about World Economy

Oil slipped on Thursday as weak data from the world’s top economies raised concern about the outlook for global fuel demand, offsetting data that showed a large drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.  China, the world’s top energy consumer, saw its economy losing more steam in April despite easier monetary policy, while Europe’s largest economy, Germany, slowed in the first quarter. In the United States, retail sales were flat in April, dampening hopes of a sharp rebound in growth in the second quarter.

June Brent crude fell 22 cents to $66.59 a barrel as of 0221 GMT after settling 5 cents lower in the previous session. U.S. crude for June delivery dropped 32 cents to $60.18 after ending 25 cents down in a volatile session on Wednesday.

Crude stocks in the United States fell for the second week, by 2.2 million barrels, following four months of steady gains, even though refiners pared back record seasonal run rates and imports jumped. Analysts had expected crude inventories to rise by 386,000 barrels.  Despite the drop, inventories were still almost 90 million barrels higher than this time last year. A surprise increase in output in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state, North Dakota, in March also added to supply concerns.