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Crude prices hammered on U.S. jobless claims, German growth data

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Shutterstock photo - - Disappointing U.S. jobless claims numbers coupled with a soft German economic growth report sent oil prices tumbling to near seven-month lows on Thursday by stoking fears demand remains soft while supplies abundant

In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in September traded down 1.99% at $95.65 a barrel during U.S. trading. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $95.64 a barrel and a high of $97.58 a barrel.

The September contract settled up 0.23% at $97.59 a barrel on Wednesday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $95.21 a barrel, the low from Jan. 27, and resistance at $98.58 a barrel, Monday's high.

The U.S. Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending August 9 increased by 21,000 to 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of 290,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 5,000 to 295,000 last week, and concerns the U.S. economy faces potholes on its road to recovery pushed down oil prices.

Meanwhile in Europe, soft economic growth numbers bruised oil prices as well, especially those out of Germany, the continent's economic engine.

The euro zone's gross domestic product came in flat for the three months to June, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office, missing market expectations for 0.1% growth. The euro zone's economy grew 0.2% in the preceding quarter.

Year-on-year, the euro zone GDP expanded by 0.7%, in line with expectations after expanding at a rate of 0.9% in the first quarter.

Germany's economy shrank by 0.2% in the three month to June, the first drop since 2012 and worse than forecasts for a contraction of 0.1%.

France's GDP came in flat in the second quarter, a second consecutive quarter of stagnation.

While the U.S. economy continues to show signs of recovery, concerns global oil supply will far surpass demand battered crude prices in Thursday trading.

Separately, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for October delivery were down 2.70% and trading at US$102.23 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.12 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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