Brent crude was steady today after China released its manufacturing data, which indicated an improved fuel demand prospect in the world’s second largest oil consumer, while balancing the concerns over Cyprus‘s bailout deal.

Brent crude was steady at 108.61 a barrel, after sliding by 11 cents, while US crude dropped by 27 cents to $93.23, reported Reuters.

China’s manufacturing sector expansion in March has indicated robust first-quarter growth.

The HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index improved to 51.7 in March, compared to 50.4 in February. However, it remained below 52.3, which was reached at the beginning of 2013.

According to analysts, the reading is steady with year-on-year GDP growth of nearly eight percent, which is above the 7.5% GDP growth target for 2013 released at the annual legislative session in March.

In Europe, Cyprus kept investors’ apprehensions growing, as it scrambled to avoid a meltdown.

The country, which asked its banks to remain closed until next week, is currently considering nationalising pension funds.

Cyprus also rejected the conditions of a European Union bailout and turned to Russia for aid.

Oil received some support, after the US Federal Reserve promised to continue its efforts to stimulate the world’s largest economy.

"China’s manufacturing sector expansion in March has indicated robust first-quarter growth."

On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said for the first time since 1995, oil production in US will exceed the amount of crude the country imports, by the end of 2013.

The EIA said that a surge in oil production from shale or tight oil by hydraulic fracturing, known as ‘fracking’, is anticipated to increase US output to eight million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2014, the highest since 1988.

However, weekly data showed that stockpiles fell by 1.31 million barrels in the week to 15 March, against analysts’ prediction of a two million barrel rise.

Image: EIA said that oil production in the US will surpass the amount of crude the country imports, for the first time since 1995. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / meepoohfoto.