Ample supply is also weighing on the contract. Last week's report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an unexpected increase in gasoline stockpiles. The result of the HSBC/Markit purchasing managers' index for China added to worries that the Chinese economy is still losing momentum. In Libya, tribesmen ended a blockade of the El Sharara oilfield and engineers said they hoped to resume pumping within a week.
The global oil market appeared to shrug off the ongoing violence in Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk, and Kiev drafted police special forces to the southwestern port city of Odessa to halt a feared westward spread of rebellion.
Capping losses in U.S. crude oil was news that growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated in April, rising at the fastest pace in eight months, providing further evidence that economic activity is regaining momentum after lagging through much of the harsh winter.
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