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Crude oil prices maintain downward trend

March 1, 2013 at 4:14 PM

NEW YORK, March 1 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices lost $1.37 to $90.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday, reflecting U.S. spending cuts and poor reports from abroad.

The manufacturing index for China fell to a four-month low to just more than the 50-threshold, which marks the difference between expanding and contracting manufacturing sentiment, MarketWatch.com said.

The euro zone's unemployment rate was 11.9 percent in January, slightly higher than the projected 11.8 percent, MarketWatch.com said.

In the United States, the implementation of the $85 billion in automatic cuts in federal spending likely would "slow economic activity over the course of 2013," Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management told MarketWatch.com. Oil is "likely to be harmed by any deterioration in economic activity.

Gasoline added 2 cents to close at $3.13 a gallon.

Home heating oil lost 3 cents to settle $2.93 a gallon.

Natural gas also lost 3 cents to close $3.46 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline slipped from Thursday's $3.782 per gallon to $3.771, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.

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