Brent crude plunges below US$100 to near 16 month low

Brent crude has fallen below US$100 a barrel to levels last seen in December 2008 amid weak jobs data from USA where unemployment rate rose for the first time in 11 months, poor figures for Chinese manufacturing sector and rising concerns over the euro zone’s debt crisis. Reports show that China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index alleviated to its weakest reading this year and Germany’s manufacturing sector contracted at the fastest pace in almost three years. U.S. crude oil inventories, excluding strategic reserves, rose much more than expected last week to hit their highest level since July 1990, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) date showed. The euro sank in volatile trading against the dollar, touching a 23 year low against the greenback on concerns about Spain's banking troubles and weak U.S. economic data. In turn, investors pared their holdings in riskier commodities and equities assets.
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