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Oil fell as more Americans filed applications for jobless benefits and Chinese manufacturing weakened, bolstering concern that the economies of two biggest crude-consuming countries are slowing.
Futures dropped as much as 1.3 percent after the Labor Department said U.S. unemployment claims rose by 6,000 to 402,000 last week. China’s manufacturing contracted in November for the first time since February 2009, a purchasing managers’ index compiled by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed.
Crude for January delivery declined to $98.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures climbed 7.7 percent in November and are up 8.6 percent this year.
Brent oil for January settlement fell $1.89, or 1.7 percent, to $108.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
U.S. jobless claims were projected to drop to 390,000 last week, according to the median forecast of 43 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.
The U.S. and China were responsible for 32 percent of global oil consumption in 2010, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy released on June 8.
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