NEW YORK, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices fell on Thursday on tepid U.S. economic data.
The Labor Department said the initial jobless claims declined 2, 000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 386,000. The prior week's data was revised up 8,000. The U.S. existing home sales slipped unexpectedly by 2.6 percent in March compared to February, indicating a struggling situation in the housing markets. Weak economic data added to pressure caused by the rising inventories released on Wednesday, pushing the prices down.
In Europe, although Spain's debt auction met solid demand, the investors remained wary of its financial health.
And a poll by Reuters showed that the global economy was expected to rise modestly 3.3 percent in 2012 as euro zone debt crisis lingered and U.S. economic recovery slowed. A weakening global economy weighed oil market.
However, Iran's oil minister on Thursday warned to cut oil sales to the European Union if the bloc failed to show some flexibility toward Iran ahead of a second round of nuclear talks in May. Analysts said high oil prices helped Iran fight against the sanctions. Less supplies would offer supports to oil prices.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery slipped 40 cents, or 0.39 percent to settle at 102.27 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for May delivery traded flat and last traded around 118 dollars a barrel.