Oil prices declined 2% on Monday following weak economic data from China that weighed on prices.
Brent April crude futures LCOc1 edged down 64 cents, at $35.35 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 declined 68 cents, at $32.94 a barrel, Reuters reported.
In January 2015, China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the sixth month in a row since 2012, adding to worries about demand at a time when the market is already oversupplied.
During the month, China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 49.4, compared with 49.7 in December 2015.
A private survey, the Caixin / Markit China Manufacturing PMI, highlighted a decline in factory activity for the 11th straight month.
Last week, oil prices strengthened after energy officials in Russia said they had received proposals from Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) key member Saudi Arabia on managing output.
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Iran, a member of OPEC, was allowed to return fully to markets in December 2015 after lifting of international sanctions and is not willing to participate in cuts.
OPEC production jumped to 32.60 million barrels per day (bpd) due to Iran’s return and added to an already over supplied market.
Image: Brent April crude futures LCOc1 declined 64 cents, at $35.35 a barrel. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net