Crude oil prices fall further in Asia
Singapore: Oil prices extended losses in Asian trade Friday as data showing a slowdown in China`s giant economy sparked concerns about weak demand.
Expectations that Libyan oil will return to the market after rebels lifted a blockade of crude terminals also helped push prices lower, analysts said.
New York`s main contract West Texas Intermediate for May delivery eased 33 cents to USD 103.07 a barrel in afternoon trade while Brent North Sea crude dipped 24 cents to USD 107.22 for its May contract.
"Global demand is waning due to the slowing growth in China," said Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC markets in Singapore.
Chinese imports slumped 11.3 percent in March from a year ago and exports fell 6.6 percent in the latest data pointing to a slowdown in the world`s second biggest economy.
For crude oil alone, China imported 5.54 million barrels per day in March, a decline of 8.0 percent from February and the weakest import volume in five months, according to German lender Commerzbank.
In Libya, the National Oil Co. lifted its force majeure notice from its Al-Hariga oil terminal in eastern Libya as of 1000 GMT Thursday, signalling a resumption of exports that could begin as soon as Sunday.
The shift at Al-Hariga follows a weekend deal between the central government and rebels who sized four key terminals as part of a push to gain political autonomy for the eastern Cyrenaica region.
The Zuetina oil port is also expected to resume deliveries soon, while the other two ports are expected to resume deliveries within two to four weeks, provided negotiations are successfully concluded.
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