WTI Crude Falls as China Exports Shrink; Brent Drops in London

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

Futures lost as much as 0.3 percent in New York. China’s overseas shipments declined 18.1 percent in February from a year earlier, the biggest drop since August 2009, the General Administration of Customs reported on March 8. A median 7.5 percent increase was forecast by 45 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Producer prices were down 2 percent, the most since July, the statistics bureau said in Beijing yesterday.

“There’s an element of concern and it’s obviously something that goes together with the fact that PMI has also been soft,” Dominic Schnider, the head of commodities research at UBS AG’s wealth-management unit inSingapore, said of data earlier this month that showed a slowdown in China’s factory output. “Clearly it weighs a little bit but I’d be little bit cautious to read too much into it.”

WTI for April delivery fell as much as 27 cents to $102.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $102.44 at 10:18 a.m. Seoul time. The contract slid 1 cent last week, snapping a seven-week rising streak. The volume of all futures traded was about 33 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for April settlement decreased as much as 40 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $108.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.20 to WTI. The spread narrowed for the first time in three days on March 7 to close at $6.42.