U.S. oil prices dropped to near $70 on Friday, after falling the previous day for a seventh time in eight sessions, on unabated fears that Europe's debt crisis could hurt global economic growth and slow energy demand.
Global stocks and commodities sold off on Thursday, with Asian shares continuing the dive on Friday, as investors exited risky assets and rushed into safe-havens like U.S. Treasuries, strengthening the dollar.
U.S. crude for July delivery fell 51 cents to $70.29 a barrel by 12:44 a.m. ET, recouping some of the losses from earlier in the day. On Thursday, trade for the June contract saw the largest intraday move of around $7 since the end of 2008, tumbling nearly 3 percent on its expiration.
London Brent crude was down 49 cents to $71.35 a barrel.
There are signs that the economy may not be as strong as initially believed, Peter Beutel of trading advisory Cameron Hanover said in a note. Thursday's (U.S.) employment figure was disappointing, and more and more observers are talking about a second dip, now.
A clash between France and Germany over a unilateral German ban on some speculative trades on Wednesday and fears that Germany may yet force out weaker euro zone members rattled markets around the world.
It's like the U.N., you can't get anything concrete done. The only thing keeping them on the same page is to prevent a total collapse of the euro, said Clarence Chu, trader at Hudson Capital.
The market will be watching for the German parliamentary vote on the country's contribution to the European Union/International Monetary Fund support package later on Friday, he said.
Oil came under further pressure after industry data provider Genscape said on late Thursday that crude stored at the delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose 500,000 barrels in the week to May 18.
However, prices may gain some support later on Friday as China is due to release details of its April oil demand.
Initial data has shown that China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, posted record rates both in refinery output and crude imports last month, following seven months of double-digit growth in apparent oil demand.
(Editing by Ed Lane)