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Brent crude slipped today, but managed to stay just above $104 a barrel, as robust signs of revival from the US and continuing uncertainties concerning the Chinese economy gave mixed signals about demand from the world’s top two consumers.

Brent fell by 56 cents at $103.91 a barrel, while US crude eased 67 cents to hit $95.72 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Data showed that the number of new claims filing for jobless aid in the US dropped last week to its lowest level in more than five years.

Price also came under pressure due to a strong dollar; however, investors are now more concerned about the economic health of the world’s second largest oil consumer, China.

The country’s consumer inflation increased in April, while factory prices dropped for a 14th straight month. In the first quarter, China’s gross domestic product jumped by a less than predicted 7.7%, disappointing investors, who expected a strong rebound of eight percent.

Oil prices, however, are anticipated to get a boost from heightened tensions in the Middle East region.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has announced that Syria will counter Israeli raids around Damascus by providing more sophisticated new weapons to his group.

On the other hand, the US has blacklisted two companies for aiding Iran to escape sanctions on oil sales and also imposed penalties on four Tehran-based firms for supplying the Islamic Republic with uranium.


Image: In the US, the number of new claims for jobless help fell to its lowest in more than five years. Photo courtesy of Ibrahim Rustamov.

Energy