Brent Crude Slides as China Exports Drop; WTI Slips in New York

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Brent crude slid for the first time in three days after exports from China unexpectedly declined, stoking speculation the world’s second-biggest oil consumer may not reach its economic growth target. West Texas Intermediate slipped in New York.

Futures dropped as much as 0.4 percent in London. China’s overseas shipments unexpectedly declined 18.1 percent in February from a year earlier, customs data showed March 8, the most since 2009. That compared with analysts’ median estimate for a 7.5 percent increase. WTI’s discount to Brent narrowed for a second day.

Brent for April settlement lost as much as 40 cents to $108.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $108.69 at 8:59 in Seoul. The contract rose 90 cents, or 0.8 percent, to end the session at $109 a barrel on March 7, trimming the week’s decline to 0.1 percent.

WTI for April delivery dropped 18 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $102.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 1 cent last week. The U.S. benchmark contract was at a $6.35 discount to Brent, from $6.42 on March 7.