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Brent crude traded above $109 a barrel today thanks to positive Chinese data, which supported hopes of increased demand from the world’s second largest oil consumer; however, the news that an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) producer, Libya, may resume exports soon pulled down prices.

Brent crude was at $109.65 a barrel, after slipping down by 16 cents, while US oil gained by three cents to settle at $103.88, reported Reuters.

A survey showed that China’s manufacturing activities increased to a four-month high in August 2013. This added to positive July reports increased hopes that the country’s economy is stabilising after a two year slump.

Oil prices, however, were dented by the news that Libya’s Marsa al Brega port reopened on 20 August 2013 and expects to begin oil exports shortly, easing some concerns about the supply disruptions.

On the other hand, civil unrest in the country continued, with the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals blocked by protesters for nearly four weeks.

Political crisis in Egypt also sparked supply worries among traders, as the country houses the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, which have a combined capacity of carrying around 4.5 million barrels per day of oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Egyptian Army is safeguarding the facilities, but any disruption could heavily impact oil prices.


Image: Fewer supply concerns from Libya had an impact on prices. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.

Energy