Oil trading – Crude oil slides on China data; Canadian dollar weakens

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Crude oil prices slid for the first time in four days, erasing last week’s gain from the highest price in more than a week after Chinese economic data signaled weaker growth in the world’s second-largest consumer of oil.

China had its biggest trade deficit last month in at least 22 years, posting a $31.5 billion trade deficit in February, more than the $5 billion deficit forecast, raising concerns of a drop in oil demand.

China used 9.06 million barrels a day of oil in 2010, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The U.S. used 19.1 million barrels.

Crude for April’s contract fell to as low as $105.37 a barrel during New York trading hours, versus Friday’s high of $108.18.

Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange slid 87 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $125.11.

The Canadian dollar was trading modestly lower against its U.S. counterpart, since the loonie is a commodity-linked currency because Canada is a major oil exporter. USDCAD rose to a high of 0.9945, moving up from a Friday low of 0.9871.