Oil slips to near $90 as growth prospects dim

By Alex Kennedy Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Oil slipped to near $90 a barrel Friday in Asia amid signs of sharply slowing economic growth in Europe and China.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was down 33 cents to $90.33 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 76 cents to settle at $90.66 in New York on Thursday.

Brent crude for July delivery was down 33 cents at $106.22 per barrel in London.

Weaker manufacturing figures released Thursday in Europe and China suggest a sharper slowdown in the global economy and weaker demand for crude.

Some European countries, such as Italy and Spain, are already in recession. Political turmoil in Greece has increased the possibility that the country will leave the euro common currency, a move that would likely undermine investor confidence in the rest of Europe.

Crude has sunk about 15 percent from $106 three weeks ago amid dimming global growth prospects and easing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran and six world powers ended talks Thursday without making any progress toward a deal, but agreed to continue meetings next month in Moscow. Crude rose to above $110 earlier this year as traders worried a pre-emptive military attack by the U.S. or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities would disrupt global crude supplies.

“Data for the world’s most important commodity consumer, China, point to signs of slowdown,” Citigroup said in a report. “Easing geopolitical concerns have also weakened bullish sentiment.”

In other energy trading, heating oil was down 0.3 cent at $2.82 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 0.4 cent at $2.82 per gallon. Natural gas gained 0.2 cent at $2.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.