February 15, 2013

Oil prices fell below $97 Friday a day after disappointing European economic figures highlighted the region’s parlous growth outlook.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for March delivery was down 74 cents to $96.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 30 cents to finish at $97.31 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

Figures Thursday showed economic output in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, contracted by more than anticipated in the last three months of 2012. And France, Europe’s second-biggest economy, also saw output drop.

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