Brent crude traded above $108 a barrel today following the threat of further European sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, which weighed on oil markets.
Brent crude dropped by eight cents to $108.59 a barrel, while US oil was down by three cents to settle at $100.62, reported Reuters.
Crude prices rose in the early session as the European Union (EU) increased pressure on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine by imposing sanctions on a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the commander of Russian paratroopers, as well as two confiscated Crimean energy companies.
Oil prices stabilised after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister announced that the country would increase exports if there was any disruption caused by the crisis in Ukraine.
Crude prices are predicted to drop in the near future as Libya’s western oilfields and pipelines, which have been blocked by protests since March, are expected to resume operations on Monday night, potentially increasing Libyan crude output by 500,000bpd.
China’s industrial production and retail sales growth eased in April, further confirming a slowdown in growth in the world’s second-largest economy amid a government reform drive, creating some pressure on oil.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed that industrial production grew 8.7% year-on-year in April, which was slightly slower than the 8.8% rise seen in March.
Retail sales advanced 11.9% in April from a year ago, while the annual growth was forecast to remain unchanged at March’s 12.2%.
Oil traders are watching the progress in the talks between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.
On Monday, the discussion between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency ended inconclusively.
Image: China’s industrial production and retail sales for April came in below forecasts. Photo: courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Rawich.