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Oil declines after China trade data

The Associated Press

The price of oil declined Thursday after China’s monthly trade data showed subdued imports by the world’s largest crude consumer.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was down 39 cents at $100.38 a barrel at 0920 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.27 to close at $100.77 on Wednesday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was down 48 cents to $107.65 on the ICE exchange in London.

China’s customs data showed that imports rose 0.8 percent in April, improving from the previous month’s 11.3 percent decline but still subdued. Exports rose 0.9 percent, a recovery from March’s 6.6 percent fall. Weak imports reflect slowing Chinese economic growth, which declined to 7.4 percent in the first quarter of year.

The decline in the oil price comes after a big jump Wednesday, which stemmed from a surprise decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 0.1 cent to $2.92 a gallon.

— Heating oil was down 1.4 cents to $2.914 a gallon

— Natural gas slipped 0.1 cent to $4.734 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Related: Vietnam and China face off in South China Sea

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