Oil falls below $89 as China growth slows

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil sank to its lowest since mid-December on Monday as a slowdown in China's growth added to doubts about the strength of the world economy.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was down $2.32 to $88.97 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.22 to $91.29 on Friday.

China's slowdown, weak economic reports from the U.S. and Europe's malaise suggest demand for crude and refined fuels won't be strong enough to absorb the ample supplies on the world market, which is pushing down the oil price.

The Chinese government on Monday said growth in the world's second-largest economy slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent in the final quarter of last year. Growth was expected to accelerate slightly after several quarters of decline.

Brent crude was down $1.71 to $101.33 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $2.781 a gallon.

— Heating oil dropped 2.4 cents to $2.847 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 3.3 cents to $4.255 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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