Oil prices decreased today, as investors believe supply disruptions have been eased with the delay of US-led military action against the Syrian Government; however, losses were curtailed by surprise positive Chinese factory activity data.

Brent crude fell by 94 cents to hit $113.08 a barrel, while US oil was down by $1.36 to settle at $106.29, reported Reuters.

The Obama Administration is seeking congressional authorisation to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for alleged chemical weapons usage.

This would likely delay any strike by at least nine days, as the current summer recess ends on 9 September 2013.

Oil prices received some support from Chinese data, which showed that factory activities in the country expanded at their fastest rate in more than a year in August, boosting hopes of demand growth recovery.

Another survey revealed that China’s factory activity increased to a four-month high last month as domestic demand recovered.

Prices were also underpinned by a fall in supplies from the producer group the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In August 2013, supplies from the OPEC averaged 30.32 million bpd, down from a revised 30.50 million bpd in the previous month.

Image: Eased supply worries, amid a delayed strike against Syria, impacted oil prices. Photo courtesy of