NYMEX-Crude tumbles 5 pct on strong dollar

* Dollar hits seven-month high versus euro

* U.S. jobless claims up, productivity gains

* U.S. factory orders show big rise in Dec.

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. crude oil futures lost
further ground on Thursday, posting the biggest one-day
percentage loss since July, due to a stronger dollar and weak
U.S. oil demand that raised more worries about the sluggish
economic recovery.

Heating oil and gasoline futures fell sharply with crude.

“Crude futures are sliding on the strength of the dollar
and as oil demand remains very, very weak,” said Peter Beutel,
president of Cameron Hanover, in Stamford, Connecticut.

“We have a backward situation in that what is good for the
dollar is not good for commodities. At this point, investors
fear that the U.S. economy is taking a lot longer to recover,”
he added.

The euro hit a seven-month low against the dollar on
Thursday amid ongoing concerns over the fiscal health of some
euro zone countries. [USD/]

Wall Street tumbled as the number of Americans claiming
jobless benefits rose unexpectedly and renewed fears of
sovereign debt problems in Europe led investors to dump risker
assets. [.N]

The day’s losses followed Wednesday’s slip triggered by
data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing
crude stocks rose and that, even though product stocks fell,
demand remained weak. [EIA/]

The number of U.S. workers filing for jobless benefits
unexpectedly rose last week, but another big gain in
productivity in the fourth quarter offered hope that companies
were getting close to adding to payrolls. [ID:nN0423513]

The specter of rising unemployment ahead of Friday’s
nonfarm payrolls report overshadowed better-than-expected
factory orders as investors piled into safer assets.

New orders at U.S. factories jumped by an unexpectedly
large 1 percent in December despite a drop in transportation
equipment orders while inventories shrank, the Commerce
Department said. [ID:nN04246107]

PRICES

* On the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:55 p.m. (1755
GMT), March crude (CLH0: ) was down $4.12, or 5.35 percent, at
$72.86 a barrel, trading from $72.59 to $77.17.

* At the day’s low, March crude was down $4.39, or 5.7
percent, the biggest one-day percentage loss since prices
tumbled 5.77 percent on July 29.

* In London, March Brent crude (LCOH0: ) was down $4.01, or
5.28 percent, at $71.91 a barrel, trading from $71.61 to
$75.95.

* NYMEX March RBOB (RBH0: ) was down 9.02 cents, or 4.43
percent, at $1.9460 a gallon, trading from $1.9375 to $2.0374.

* NYMEX March heating oil (HOH0: ) was down 9.31 cents, or
4.61 percent, at $1.9262 a gallon, trading from $1.9179 to
$2.0262.

* The March/March heating oil crack spread (0#CL-HO=R: ) was
at $8.04, after ending at $7.83 on Wednesday. The March/March
RBOB crack spread (0#RB-CL=R: ) was at $8.87, after ending at
$8.54 on Wednesday.

* The spread between the current front month and the
five-year forward crude contract (CLc61: ) was at $17.04, based
on the March 2015 contract Wednesday settlement at $89.90. The
spread ended Wednesday at $12.92.

MARKET NEWS

* Top U.S. retail chains ended their fiscal year with
better-than-expected January sales, but the current first
quarter could be tougher if consumers overspent during the
holiday season. [ID:nN04126632]

* Ship pilots restarted movement of ships at the key oil
port of Houston late Thursday morning as rough seas subsided
after a two-day halt in traffic. [ID:nN04399521]

* OPEC seaborne oil exports, excluding Angola and Ecuador,
will rise by 580,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to
Feb. 20, the highest in over a year, according to Roy Mason, an
analyst at UK consultancy Oil Movements. [ID: nWLB6854]

* World oil demand will peak sometime after 2020 at a
maximum of around 110 million bpd, BP Chief Executive Tony
Hayward said. [ID:nLDE61316Y]

* Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N: ) said on Thursday it finished
brief unplanned maintenance to fix a leak at Complex III in the
west plant of its 340,000 barrel-per-day Corpus Christi, Texas,
oil refinery. [ID:nN04160606]

* Click on [REF/US] for a list of U.S. refinery issues.

Money

(Reporting by Gene Ramos; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

NYMEX-Crude tumbles 5 pct on strong dollar