Crude oil prices slipped on Thursday, pressured by an expected dip in demand during the refinery maintenance season and a rise in jobless claims in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer.
The poor jobless data was compounded by weak U.S. retail sales data suggesting that consumers used their money toward heating fuel this year amid a record cold winter. The data pressured the U.S. stock market and weighed on oil prices.
Losses were limited by a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said inventories in the developed world fell 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the last three months of 2013 in the steepest quarterly decline since 1999.
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