Brent Oil Price Slumps to Eight-Month Low under $100إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Brent oil prices sank under $100 a barrel on Friday for the first time in eight months, hit by weak Chinese and U.S. data and Eurozone debt tensions centered on Spain.
At about 0910 GMT, Brent North Sea crude for July delivery tumbled $2.27 to strike $99.60 a barrel, which was the lowest level since October 4, 2011.
At the same time, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for July dived to $84.78 a barrel -- the lowest level since October 20.
"Brent is clearly driven lower by the bearish macro sentiment," SEB commodities analyst Filip Petersson told AFP.
"Several factors are conspiring here. Europe is obvious, a new wave of contagion fear is spreading and leaders seem paralyzed. U.S. data also continues to come in below expectations even though the situation there is less acute.
"However, inventories are at the highest level in decades and that naturally weighs on crude.
"Today it is the Chinese PMI that is weighing down market sentiment. The Chinese slowdown continues and authorities have not shown any signs of tangible stimulus yet."
China on Friday said its manufacturing activity grew at a much slower rate than expected in May, further confirming the world's number two economy is slowing rapidly after recent poor figures on trade, investment and industrial output.
The official purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 50.4 from 53.3 in April, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in a statement.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction. Later, HSBC said its PMI for May stood at 48.4 compared with 49.3 in April.
In the United States on Thursday, the government lowered its estimate for first-quarter economic growth, to 1.9 percent from 2.2 percent, raising questions over how much of a rebound could be expected in the current quarter.
Two jobs reports -- weekly unemployment claims and private-sector job creation in May -- both were disappointing, indicating slow improvement in the economy.
Eyes are now on key non-payroll jobs data out of Washington later in the day for a guide to the U.S. economy's recovery.
Back in the Eurozone, Greece's political and economic future remains uncertain, Spain's banking sector is looking increasingly fragile, stoking fears that debt-laden Madrid could need an international bailout.