Oil dips as China data outweighs upbeat U.S. consumers

Fri May 11, 2012 5:12pm EDT
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil fell on Friday and posted a second straight weekly loss as pressure from weak industrial growth in China countered news that U.S. consumer confidence hit a four-year high.

Brent crude's 6.2 percent slide in the past two weeks was the biggest two-week percentage loss since December 16. U.S. crude fell 8.4 percent the past two weeks, its largest since September 30.

Crude prices felt early pressure from data showing China's industrial production in April grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years.

The report followed disappointing trade numbers released on Thursday, indicating China's economy is showing vulnerability to a global slowdown.

Oil pared losses later on news that U.S. consumer sentiment rose early this month to its highest in more than four years, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary May reading.

The consumer data lent support to the U.S. equities intraday, before they ended lower. The stock market's resilience even after news of JPMorgan Chase & Co's trading loss of at least $2 billion also initially helped curb oil losses. .N

"The complex was pushed and pulled in both directions today by the opposing forces of risk aversion related to the losses in the banking segment and support that spun off of the early rebound in the equities," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note.

Oil prices have been battered by rising OPEC output that has helped boost U.S. crude oil inventories and by the political and economic turmoil resulting from the euro-zone's debt crisis.   Continued...

A woman fills petrol into her car at a filling station in Puchheim westward of Munich December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle