US oil ends sharply lower; China, EM turmoil shake markets
Brent oil pared earlier losses and U.S. oil fell by more than $1 on Friday as reports pointed to a slowing economy in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, and as U.S. equities tumbled in the wake of a selloff in emerging markets.
China's economic growth is expected to slow gradually over the next two years as the government forges ahead with structural reforms and seeks to curb elevated debt levels, a Reuters poll showed. Also weighing on oil prices were expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will further trim its stimulus measures when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday..
Also weighing on oil prices were expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will further trim its market-friendly stimulus measures when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday.
Brent crude rebounded from a drop of more than $1.20 to trade 30 cents higher near $108, heading for its biggest weekly gain since Dec. 20.
U.S.oil, or WTI, fell 68 cents to settle at $96.64, after settling 59 cents higher on Thursday. It was still set to record its biggest weekly rise since Dec. 6.
Extreme cold weather in the U.S., meanwhile, pushed natural gas prices to above $5 per British thermal unit for the first time since August 2010 and up 7 percent on the day. Expectations are that frigid temperatures will keep demand for heating fuel high, supporting natgas.
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