( Reuters )- Oil eased from near a record high of $100 a barrel on Thursday, pressured after fuel inventories rose in top consumer the United States.
The rise to triple digits on Wednesday may darken the outlook for the U.S. economy, battered by a housing crisis and credit crunch. European Union economies could also suffer if the spike is prolonged, said the European Commission.
U.S. crude lost 43 cents from the previous close to $99.19 a barrel by 10:57 a.m. ET. U.S. crude traded a single lot at $100 a barrel on Wednesday, stoked by violence in OPEC exporters Nigeria and Algeria.
London Brent crude shed 48 cents to $97.36.
Some analysts saw evidence of slower oil demand growth in the United States in weekly government data on Thursday.
"The demand numbers look pretty weak, and confirm the perception of the slowdown in demand growth," said Antoine Halff , energy analyst at Newedge .
"The crude oil draw is not too far from what we expected...I think fundamentals will ease a bit over the next few weeks as supply comes on line and demand growth continues to weaken."
U.S. gasoline stocks rose 1.9 million barrels, while distillates -- including heating oil -- rose 600,000 barrels last week.
Inventories of crude fell for the seventh week running, sinking to the lowest level in three years, limiting the price decline.
After rising 57 percent in 2007, oil and other commodities may push higher still, analysts said. Gold and platinum also drew strength from dollar weakness to hit fresh record highs on Thursday.
The weakness of the U.S. dollar has also spurred speculative buying that boosted oil and other commodities as it makes dollar-denominated assets relatively cheap.
Despite oil rocketing to $100, the White House said it will not open up the nation's emergency crude reserves to ease prices.
Nor will the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) coordinate a release of emergency crude stocks from its 27 member states.
"We are not going to carry out (an emergency) oil stock release," William Ramsay, the IEA's deputy head told Reuters. "We don't respond to prices, and we don't see any disruption in the physical oil market."
Officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said the group could do little to halt the rally.