Brent value dropped towards $109 a barrel today over revived demand fears from the US, fuelled by weaker-than-expected economic data. However, further losses were curbed with support from the cold spell that pushed up consumption of heating fuels.
According to Reuters, Brent crude was down by $0.04 to $109.04 a barrel, while US oil rose by $0.28 to settle at $100.58 a barrel.
Data showed that US manufacturing output fell to its lowest level in more than four-and-a-half years in January, adding to signs of a weaker start for the world’s largest economy this year.
HSBC‘s flash PMI survey of manufacturers for February, which is due on Thursday, is now eagerly awaited by the traders.
Payroll and retail sales data, accompanied by manufacturing figures, suggest that cold weather in the US had spurred a step-back in economic growth early in the first quarter.
Prices also received support from better Chinese data that showed banks disbursed a four-year high volume of loans in January.
In addition, supply disruption fears continue to underpin oil prices.
Libya’s National Oil Corp said that oil production in the country has dropped to 390,000bpd, as protesters have partly blocked flows from the El Sharara oilfield.
Since August 2013, three oil ports in eastern Libya were seized due to protests, cutting off around 600,000bpd of export capacity.
Image: Weaker-than-expected US economic data weighs on prices. Photo: courtesy of domdeen/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.