Oil slips on U.S. data, but weak dollar supports

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Oil slipped on Friday in tug-of-war trading after the initial estimate of U.S. first-quarter economic growth data lagged expectations, but losses were limited by hopes for additional easing by the Federal Reserve to boost sputtering U.S. growth. Both Brent and U.S. crude headed for a small weekly gain and traded in relatively narrow ranges as the dollar's weakness and a greater-than-expected rise in U.S. consumer sentiment also provided support.

Oil fell overnight after ratings agency S&P downgraded Spain's credit rating before paring losses ahead of the U.S. GDP figures.

"Bad news for the economy is being interpreted as good news for commodities because it may put QE3 back on the table," said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at Energy Management Institute in New York. "Whether or not that trade has any longevity is not clear."

Brent June crude fell 50 cents to $119.42 a barrel by 11:13 a.m. EDT (1513 GMT), having swung from $119.95 to $119.20. Brent was on track for a 0.5 percent weekly gain but a more than 2 percent loss for the month. U.S. June crude was down 20 cents at $104.35, having topped at $104.69 short of challenging the 50-day moving average of $105.10. It was on pace for a 1 percent weekly rise and a similar monthly gain.

U.S. economic growth cooled in the first quarter to a 2.2 percent annual rate, the government said in its advanced estimate, moderating from the fourth quarter's 3.0 percent. Expectations had been for growth between 2.3-2.5 percent, with the consensus forecast at the upper end of that range, enough to indicate recovery was on track.

(Additional reporting by Gene Ramos in New York, Claire Milhench in London and Luke Pachymuthu in Singapore; Editing by Alden Bentley)



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