Oil slipped on Monday in choppy trading as weak economic data in Japan and the United States fed worries about the energy demand outlook, outweighing support from a weaker dollar.
News that Japan's economy expanded by a mere 0.1 percent in the second quarter, below forecasts, weighed on Asian equities and was followed later by weak U.S. data.
A gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose in August but the reading was below expectations.
U.S. home-builder sentiment unexpectedly fell in August for a third straight month to its lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey on Monday.
Separately, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index increased to 7.10 in August from 5.08 in July. But that was below the 8.00 expected by economists polled by Reuters.
Oil prices drew some support as the dollar index .DXY dropped, while the euro edged up against the greenback after slipping to a one-month low in Asian trading.
U.S. crude for September delivery fell 19 cents to $75.20 a barrel at 12:07 p.m. EDT (1607 GMT). September crude traded as low as $74.86, the lowest since July 13 and off an early $75.95 peak.
Front-month ICE Brent crude fell 27 cents to $74.84 a barrel.
Economic woes and weaker equities are weighing on the price, said Christopher Bellew, a broker at Bache Commodities. Rather than completely collapsing, oil is probably likely to trade in a sideways pattern between around $74 and $78 basis Brent.
Wall Street also saw choppy trading, with the technology heavy Nasdaq leading a bargain hunter-led U.S. equities bounce after a weak opening. .N
Investors have grown more pessimistic about the outlook for oil demand due to weak economic data and rising U.S. fuel inventories, ample crude stocks and tepid demand. Last week, oil prices fell 6 percent.
Rising gasoline stockpiles have sent U.S. gasoline futures lower, and rising inventories also have pressured benchmark distillate heating oil futures. Both were below $2 a gallon.
Still, European economic growth accelerated in the second quarter of 2010 as Germany's best growth performance since reunification helped offset for the struggles of Spain, Ireland and recession-hit Greece.
In addition to economic indicators, oil markets continued to eye tropical weather threats.
The remnants of Tropical Depression 5 strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico and had a 60 percent chance of redeveloping into a tropical depression over the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Monday.
But producers have not cut back oil and natural gas production in the northern Gulf of Mexico because of the brewing tropical weather threat, operating companies said on Monday morning.
(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Alejandro Barbajosa in Singapore, graphic by David Turner; Editing by David Gregorio)