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Oil prices fall as China data spurs demand concern

Oil prices fall as China data spurs demand concern ( CLJ11 NGJ11 HOJ11 RBJ11 ) (by Myra P. Saefong)

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures fell by as much as 2% a barrel Thursday morning, accelerating their decline as U.S. stocks opened sharply lower and China posted a surprise trade deficit in February, spurring concerns over a potential slowdown in energy demand. April crude (clj11) was down $2.03 at $102.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching a low of $102.21. "With the Street's expectations of global resource demand being dampened on concerns of a weaker global economy following the overnight economic news, and with [U.S. dollar] rallying, commodity prices have been under pressure," said Colin Cieszynski, a market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note to clients. April heating oil (hoj11) was also down 1.6% at $3.866 a gallon and April gasoline (rbj11) lost 1.1% to $2.995 a gallon. April natural gas (ngj11) fell 6.1 cents to $3.869 per million British thermal units.