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Oil falls sharply on weak economic data

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NEW YORK - US crude oil price fell sharply on Wednesday as data from Europe and the United States came in weak.

Even though inventories data showed that US crude stocks unexpectedly declined sharply by 6.2 million barrels last week, to the lowest level since January 2011, the crude prices still slipped as investors fled away on a gloomy global economic scenario.

Concerns about European debt crisis soared on Wednesday after the region's most solid economy Germany suffered one of its least successfully bond auctions since the euro was launched. To adding to the fears, ratings agency Fitch said that the crisis started to pose threat to France's triple-A credit rating.

The euro fell to its lowest level in two months against the dollar, which also weighed on the dollar-denominated crude oil.

US economic data brought no hopes either. US consumer spending growth slowed in October, while initial jobless claims last week rose slightly, snapping the steady declining trend last two months.

In China, the manufacturing shrank at the fastest pace in 32 months.

But the Iran nuclear tension and continuing unrest in the Middle East kept offering support to crude prices.

Light, sweet crude for January delivery dropped 1.84 dollars, or 1.88 percent to settle at 96.17 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. And in London, Brent crude for January delivery also slipped and last traded around 107 dollars a barrel.