Brent crude held steady as supply fears over Western sanctions on Iran and positive data from China offset euro zone debt crisis concerns.

The HSBC Flash PMI index, the earliest indicator of China’s industrial activity, recovered slightly to 49.1 in April from a final reading of 48.3 in March, reports Reuters.

Brent crude gained 4 cents to $118.80 a barrel, while US crude slipped 15 cents lower at $103.73.

Tightening sanctions on Iran over the nation’s controversial nuclear programme offset drops in Brent prices. The European Union is planning an embargo on Iranian oil imports from 1 July.