Oil prices fell on Thursday after weak U.S. economic data spurred worries over crude oil demand. U.S. crude declined $2.23, or 4.6 percent, to settle at $46.25 a barrel. Brent crude was last down $1 to trade around $48 a barrel.
Early in the session, U.S. crude moved higher, breaking above $50 a barrel on a fall in the dollar. U.S. crude also briefly traded at a premium to Brent, rather than the discount it normally sustains, as the Brent front-month contract traded in its last day before expiry.
The front-month Brent futures contract was due to expire later on Thursday, and traders said investors who had sold at higher levels in recent days and weeks were buying back futures to take profit after recent heavy price falls.
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