Oil prices fall below $96 a barrel

Oil prices in Asia fall on concerns about slowing economic growth. Oil prices have fallen about 10 percent since last week.

An employee updates fuel prices on a board at a petrol station in Hefei, Anhui Province, Thursday. Oil prices fell below $96 a barrel in Asia Friday as concerns mounted about slowing economic growth in China and the United States.

Oil prices fell to below $96 a barrel Friday in Asia amid concern global crude demand will grow less this year than previously expected.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was down $1.23 to $95.85 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 27 cents to settle at $97.08 in New York on Thursday.

Brent crude for June delivery was down $1.03 at $111.70 per barrel in London.

Crude has slumped about 10 percent from $106 last week as traders mull signs the economies of the U.S., Europe and China are slowing. Analysts are also eyeing rising U.S. crude inventories, which rose last week to a 22-year high while OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, increased oil production by 320,000 barrels per day in April, according to Platts, the energy-information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

"The energy market is vulnerable to additional negative guidance from the U.S. economy, a slowing in the Chinese economic growth engine and a renewed heightening in European debt worries," energy trader and consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.

In other energy trading, heating oil was down 3 cents at $2.95 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 3.4 cents to $2.98 per gallon. Natural gas fell 0.1 cent at $2.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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