* China 1st-quarter growth fastest since 2007
* U.S. jobless claims up, industrial output rises
* Coming up: Housing starts, consumer mood data Friday
NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures ended lower on Thursday, roiled by pre-expiry trading on options on the front-month May crude contract, analysts said.
The downturn follows a 2 percent rally on Wednesday that was sparked by a surprise crude inventory drawdown and a bigger-than-expected fall in gasoline stocks.
The euro snapped a five-day advance against the dollar, on persistent worries about Greece's fiscal problems. A strong greenback usually dulls interest in commodities. [USD/]
U.S. economic data showing an increase in new jobless claims and a less-than-expected rise in industrial output in March overshadowed positive economic growth data from China, which pushed up crude futures early. [ID:nN15325702]
Other U.S. economic data did not stir oil traders.
Reports showed expansion in New York state's manufacturing sector rose to a a six-month high and factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew in April to the highest level since December.
"The main driver in NYMEX front-month crude's weakness is option's expiration on the May contract. There's a lot of open interest in the $85 and $86 calls and so the market is pinned at this point and in a holding pattern," said Richard Ilczyszyn, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.
"After the options are dealt with today, I expect a further retest of crude's highs in pre-weekend trading on Friday," he added.
The Brent May crude contract expired, with the premium over NYMEX front-month contract, now on its fourth consecutive day, shooting up to $1.66. For a FACTBOX on factors pushing Brent's premium to WTI, see [ID:nN12201326]
This developed as U.S. cash crudes strengthened sharply in early trading on Thursday as the West Texas Intermediate-Brent arbitrage and the WTI contango widened. [ID:nN15234230]
China chalked up unexpectedly strong annual economic growth of 11.9 percent in the first quarter, fastest rate of expansion since 2007. [ID:nTOE63D091]
The euro was on track for its biggest one-day fall in three weeks against the U.S. dollar as the cost of insuring against a Greek default rose, underscoring persistent concerns about Greece's ability to service its debt. [USD/]
On Wall Street, equities edged up as transportation shares gained, but the jobless claims data limited the advance. [.N]
* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, Maycrude settled down 33 cents, or 0.38 percent, at $85.51 a barrel, trading from $85.27 to $86.27. NYMEX May crude expires on April 20.
* In London, May Brent crudeended up $1.02, or 1.18 percent, at $87.17 a barrel, the highest since front-month Brent closed at $90.25 on Oct. 2, 2008. It traded from $86.10 to $87.58, highest since the intraday peak of $87.99 on Oct. 7, 2008.
* NYMEX May RBOBclosed down 0.65 cent, or 0.28 percent, at $2.3262 a gallon, trading from $2.2936 to $2.3520.
* NYMEX May heating oilended down 1.02 cents, or 0.45 percent, at $2.2523 a gallon, trading from $2.2064 to $2.2620.
* The May/May heating oil crack spread <0#CL-HO=R> ended at $9.09, up from Wednesday's $8.33. The May/May RBOB crack spread <0#RB-CL=R> ended at $12.19, inching up from Wednesday's $12.13.
* The spread between the current front month and the five-year forward crude contractended at $8.48, widening from Wednesday's $7.21. The May 2015 contract settled Thursday at $93.99, up 94 cents, or 1.01 percent.
* Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said OPEC will not increase petroleum output to bring down costs, even though oil prices have been hovering near 18-month highs. [ID:nN15237215]
* OPEC would make a decision on an output boost to calm oil prices, if the they passed $100 a barrel, Kuwait's oil minister said on Thursday. [ID:nLDE63E1DL]
* Seaborne oil exports by OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 200,000 barrels per day in the four weeks to May 1, according to a weekly estimate by UK consultancy Oil Movements. [ID:nWLB2608] (Reporting by Gene Ramos and Robert Gibbons; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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