Investing.com - Oil futures are trading to the downside in the early part of Friday's Asian session after being weighed by down yet another concerning data point.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for May delivery are off 0.11% at USD93.41 per barrel in Asian trading Friday, perhaps indicating that traders are not overly impressed with the U.S. weekly jobless claims report.
In U.S. economic news out Thursday, initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 346,000 last week from 388,000 in the previous week. Economists expected a reading of 360,000 new claims. The less volatile four-week moving average rose to 358,000 from 355,000. The U.S. is the world's largest oil consumer.
What may be weighing on oil is the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook, in which it pared estimate for U.S. GDP growth this year to 1.7% from a previous estimate of 2%. The IMF also cut its estimate for global growth to 3.4% from 3.5%.
The IMF added that it expects the euro zone's GDP to contract 0.2% this year, citing uncertainly from Italy's election results earlier this year. Italy is the region's third-largest economy.
Oil also came under pressure yesterday after the International Energy Agency trimmed its global oil demand forecast for 2013 for the third consecutive month. The IEA reduced its estimate for global oil demand by 45,000 barrels a day in 2013 to 795,000 barrels a day.
The reduced IEA forecast came just a day after the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries slightly pared its global demand outlook.
Elsewhere, Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, warned that oil thefts in Nigeria are harming the environment in Africa's largest oil-producing nation. Nigeria is an OPEC member.
Meanwhile, Brent futures for May delivery rose 0.06% to USD104.31 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.
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