NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices retreated on Thursday as the U.S. government slightly revised upward its fourth- quarter gross domestic product to 0.1 percent. The looming U.S. federal budget cuts, along with the Italy political deadlock, dragged the oil prices.
The growth in U.S. gross domestic product in the fourth quarter was mainly boosted by personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment. Consumer spending is the major engine of U.S. economic growth, and accounts for about 70 percent of the overall U.S. economic activity. For 2012 overall, the U.S. GDP increased 2.2 percent, better than the 1.8 percent growth rate in 2011.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid fell sharply last week. The decreasing claims for jobless benefits indicated a steady improvement in the job market.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 344,000 in the week ending Feb. 23, down 22, 000 from the previous week's revised figure of 366,000.
The Chicago Purchasing Manager Index in February beat analysts' estimation, up 1.2 points to 56.8, its highest level since last March, according to the ISM-Chicago Business Survey released Thursday.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery lost 71 cents, or 0.77 percent, to settle at 92.05 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude for April delivery decreased by 49 cents to close at 111.38 dollars a barrel.
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