Oil dropped close to $70 a barrel today on rising fears that Europe’s debt crisis could hurt global economic growth and slow energy demand.

For July delivery, US crude dropped 51¢ to $70.29 a barrel by 12.44 ET, while London Brent crude was down 49¢ to $71.35 a barrel, according to Reuters.

Oil declined on fears that Germany may yet force out weaker eurozone members while a clash between France and Germany about a unilateral German ban on speculative trades further lowered confidence among investors.

China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, posted record rates in refinery output and crude imports last month, following seven months of double-digit growth in apparent oil demand.