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Oil prices slipped today due to weak Chinese economic data and improvement of weather patterns in North America.

Brent crude dropped by $0.14 to $107.94 a barrel, while US oil was down by $1.46 to $101.2, reported Reuters.

The sharp drop in China’s exports stoked oil demand worries, following a series of factory surveys since the start of 2014 that indicate weakness in economic activity.

Oil prices were also weighed down by moderate temperatures reducing the demand for heating fuels and refinery maintenance season in the US, when demand typically wanes.

According to a Reuters survey, the US commercial crude oil inventories were forecast to rise by 2.2 million barrels on average last week, which weighed down crude prices.

Investors are waiting for the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly inventory reports, which are scheduled for later today and Wednesday respectively.

"Brent oil was alternately supported and was under pressure due to the ongoing crisis in Libya, which has reduced oil output."

The geopolitical situation in Ukraine and Libya have limited the fall in Brent futures, which remained steady near $108 a barrel.

The worsening crisis over Ukraine sparked supply disruption fears, as Ukraine began military drills when Russian forces tightened their hold on the Crimean peninsula.

Brent oil was alternately supported and was under pressure due to the ongoing crisis in Libya, which has reduced oil output.

Libya’s parliament has ordered that a special force be sent within one week to "liberate" all rebel-held ports in the volatile east.


Image: The US crude inventories are expected to rise as the bitter cold spell ends. Photo: courtesy of Iamnee.

Energy