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Crude oil trades close to 5-week low on U.S. demand concerns

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Forexpros - Crude oil futures were down for a fifth day on Thursday, trading close to a five-week low as concerns that the U.S. economic recovery was faltering weighed on future demand expectations from the world's largest oil consumer.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at USD91.74 a barrel during European morning trade, edging 0.3% lower.

It earlier fell as much as 0.48% to trade at a daily low of USD91.52 a barrel, hovering close to the previous session's five-week low of USD91.21 a barrel.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies increased by 1.0 million barrels last week, rising for the second consecutive week.

Total motor gasoline inventories rose by 1.7 million barrels, significantly higher than expectations for a 0.5 million barrel increase and the biggest gain since early April.

Separately, MasterCard said Wednesday retail gasoline demand in the U.S. fell 3.1% in the week ended July 29, as price gains since the beginning of July weighed on consumption, MasterCard said on Wednesday.

Energy traders have been closely eyeing gasoline stockpiles in recent weeks to gauge the strength of demand as the U.S. driving season was in its peak gasoline demand period.

Meanwhile, data on Wednesday showed that activity in the U.S. services sector declined unexpectedly in July, falling to the lowest level since February 2010, while new factory orders also fell in June.

The reports followed disappointing figures on U.S. consumer spending and manufacturing activity earlier in the week, adding to concerns over the U.S. economic recovery.

A broadly stronger dollar also weighed on oil prices, after the Bank of Japan intervened in currency markets to curb the yen's recent sharp gains. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.98% to hit a two-week high of 74.92.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for September delivery edged down 0.15% to trade at USD113.11 a barrel, up USD21.37 on its U.S. counterpart.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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