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Crude fell for the first time in three days as China’s economic growth slowed to the least in almost three years.
Futures dropped as much as 1 percent after the National Bureau of Statistics said gross domestic product in the world’s second-biggest oil-consuming country expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.
Growth in China, which ranks behind only the U.S. in terms of oil consumption, trailed forecasts by the most since the third quarter of 2008. The median estimate was for an 8.4 percent first-quarter expansion. The economy expanded by 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter.
China cut daily crude processing by 3 percent in March from a month earlier as refineries started maintenance, according to data also released by the National Bureau of Statistics today.
Crude for May delivery fell to $102.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 0.5 percent this week and up 4 percent this year.
Brent oil for May settlement slipped 84 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $120.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Front-month Brent futures expire today. The more-actively traded June contract was 94 cents lower at $120.58.
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