February 27, 2009 / 7:24 AM / in 11 years

UPDATE 1-Oil edges below $45 on weak U.S., Japan economic data

 * Oil falls below $45, pausing from more than 6 pct gain
 * Set to end February up 7 percent month-on-month
 * Market eyes Q4 U.S. GDP
 * NYMEX March RBOB RBH9 jumps after drop in gasoline
stocks
 (Updates prices)
 By Angela Moon
 SEOUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Oil fell below $45 a barrel on
Friday, paring a 6 percent gain in the previous close, as
economic data from the world's largest economies pointed to a
widening global recession.
 Oil prices fell after U.S. stocks declined 1.2 percent on
news the United States will rack up a $1.75 trillion budget
deficit to overhaul healthcare and shore up the economy this
year, the biggest since World War Two, and jobless claims had
jumped to a record 5.1 million [ID:nN26300602][.N]
 In Asia, Japan's factory output dropped by a record 10
percent in January, according to data released on Friday,
underscoring how deeply the country was mired in a recession,
[ID:nPEK251039]
 U.S. crude for April delivery CLc1 was down 62 cents at
$44.60 a barrel by 070 GMT, after a gain of $2.72 on Thursday.
 London Brent crude LCOc1 lost 20 cents to $46.31.
 Oil is on course to end the month up 7 percent from January
and up around 15 percent from a week earlier.
 "The boost (in oil prices) was sort of an instant reaction
to the weekly inventory data and strong demand for gasoline,"
said Mark Pervan, senior commodities analyst at Australia & New
Zealand Bank. "I think the market went ahead of itself."
 A steep 3.4 milion barrel drawdown in gasoline stocks
announced earlier in the week sparked the two-day rally. NYMEX
March RBOB RBH9 jumped more than 13 percent to register the
highest front-month settlement since November.
 OPEC members continue to mull the possibility of another
output cut at its meeting in March, supporting the previous two
days' price gains.
 Venezuela said it wanted OPEC to agree on a new oil output
cut, but relatively small member Ecuador said oil prices were
stabilising now, brushing off possibility that it might urge
for a cut. [ID:nN26527430]
 Market players are closely eyeing March heating oil and
RBOB gasoline contracts that expire on Friday as well as key
economic data, including euro zone January inflation and
unemployment figures and U.S. fourth-quarter GDP.
 The Commerce Department's GDP figures, due at 1330 GMT, are
expected according to a Reuters forecast to show that the
world's largest economy had contracted at a 5.4 percent annual
rate, the deepest slide since the first quarter of 1982.
[ID:nN25477922]
 U.S. durable goods orders, an important gauge of business
activity, fell for a sixth month to a six-year low in January,
suggesting that dried-up credit markets have had a severe
impact on industries around the world.
 (Editing by Ben Tan)

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