Brent futures dropped today on reports of a slowing economy in China, which clouded future oil demand.

Brent crude dropped by 37 cents to $107.56 a barrel, while US oil was up by seven cents to $96.70 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The dip in Brent prices came after a median forecast in a poll of 38 economists, conducted by Reuters between 20 and 24 January, which revealed that China’s growth for 2014 may slow to 7.4%.

According to the poll, China’s economic growth is expected to slug gradually over the next two years as the government forges ahead with structural reforms and seeks to curb elevated debt levels.

"Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have also added to investor concerns, providing some support to the prices."

China’s factory sector data, which was revealed on Thursday, also recorded a six-month decline in January. However, it continued to weigh on oil prices, suggesting a weak start for the economy in 2014.

Prices were also pressurised by expectations that the US Federal Reserve will further taper its stimulus measures during a two-day policy meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

US crude futures rose sharply due to a cold spell across the northern Hemisphere, which sapped crude and distillate stockpile and drew heating oil imports from Europe, Russia and Asia.

Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have also added to investor concerns, providing some support to the prices.

Energy