Crude prices retreat after mixed data

10:38, March 13, 2010      

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Crude prices retreated on Friday as mixed economic data brought back investor concerns about energy demand.

The University of Michigan said on Friday that its preliminary reading on March consumer sentiment dipped to 72.5 from 73.6 in February, lower than market anticipation.

The U.S. Commerce Department said sales at retailers unexpectedly increased 0.3 percent in February despite the fact that blizzards made it difficult for consumers to get to the malls, showing Americans were more willing to spend money.

Also on Friday, the International Energy Agency said that world oil demand this year will be slightly higher than previously expected because of growth in developing countries.

The IEA lifted its demand estimate for 2010 by 70,000 barrels per day from its estimate in February. It now expects the world demand to average 86.57 million barrels per day this year.

Officials at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets in Vienna on March 17 to discuss production policy, have said they do not expect a change in targets while prices are within their desired range.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery was down 87 cents to settle at 81.24 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 89 cents to 79.39 dollars on the ICE futures exchange.

Source: Xinhua
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