The price of oil slipped closer to $103 a barrel on Friday as recent signs of sputtering economic growth in China suggested demand for crude could weaken.
Other factors influencing crude supplies included a report that U.S. crude reserves rose to a 38-year high and the delayed reopening of export terminals in Libya.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for May delivery was down 15 cents to $103.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the Nymex contract fell 20 cents to settle at $103.40.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, was down 14 cents to $107.32 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Oil prices retreated from a five-week high this week after China reported shrinking exports and imports for March, raising concerns about slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy. Investors are nervously awaiting the release of first-quarter economic data next week that will shed further light on the situation.
Meanwhile, supplies are ample. The U.S. Energy Department said the country's crude oil reserves rose for a fourth straight year to their highest level since 1976 as hydraulic fracturing methods have helped drillers unlock oil trapped in rock formations.
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