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Crude Futures Dip Below $80/Barrel

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China, US data point to lower demand.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Futures for West Texas Intermediate crude oil (CLQ12.NYM) fell below $80/barrel for the first time since October 6 dipping $2 earlier today to $79.26/barrel in trading. The US benchmark crude has been falling since May in tandem with the slowdown of the world economy.

Thursday, both China and US issued reports pointing to a slowdown in manufacturing activity. Further, China's oil demand rose "barely" 1% during May, according to Platts.

In the US, the manufacturing data came after a report that employers added the fewest jobs in May in a year; the National Association of Retailers said US home sales slipped 1.5% in May, and the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record low.

On the bright side, the drop in oil prices should translate to cheaper gasoline. According to several sources, gasoline could fall to $3.30/gallon by the July 4 holiday, from a national average Thursday of $3.472/gallon.
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