Oil down in Asia on weak US, eurozone data

Crude oil prices fell in Asia on Friday as investors took their cue from weak economic data out of the United States and Europe, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December shed two cents to $85.43 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for January delivery was down 27 cents to $107.74.

"Crude prices were weighed by an increase in US weekly jobless data and disappointing earnings results," Phillip Futures said in a report.

The US Labor Department said Thursday that weekly jobless claims surged 78,000 in one week largely due to people in the northeast being forced out of their jobs in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Wall Street was unable to provide much cheer, with the three main indexes all ending in the red, while dealers continued to fret over the approaching fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into effect on January 1.

If lawmakers are unable to reach a compromise to cut the country's deficit and avoid the cliff the world's biggest economy and oil user will likely fall back into recession.

In Europe, official data showed the 17-nation eurozone was already back in recession in the third-quarter, hit by the long and debilitating debt crisis that has ravaged the region.

"GDP data confirmed the eurozone has slipped into recession again... The big concern now is how deep the recession will burrow and for how long," IG Markets said in a commentary.

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