(Corrects paragraph two to say Brent rose on Friday, not
By Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, March 24 Brent crude held above $106
per barrel on Monday weighed down by a seasonal slump in demand
and weak economic data from China, after posting its fourth
weekly loss in a row on Friday.
Brent crude fell 17 cents to $106.75 by 0325 GMT,
after settling 47 cents higher at $106.92 on Friday.
U.S. oil for May delivery dropped 23 cents to $99.23
after closing at $99.46 on Friday to pare some of the gains from
fears of supply disruptions following sanctions against Russia,
the world's second largest oil producer.
"There is no real support for Brent. The market is coming
back to Earth. I think the market is going to focus on supply.
On balance the market is balanced to oversupplied," said Tony
Nunan, oil risk manager at Japan's Mitsubishi Corp.
A seasonal slump in demand has led to a near 5 percent price
slide since the beginning of March, when Brent briefly jumped to
a three-month high above $112 as Russia took control of
Ukraine's Crimea region. [ID:nL3N0MI103}
While oil markets were coming off with the end of the severe
winter weather in the northern hemisphere, there was continued
concern over Libyan supply.
Rebels have occupied ports and oilfields, disrupting Libya's
oil production to less than 250,000 barrels per day, the
state-run National Oil Corp said.
A pipeline problem further hit production at the
southwesterly el-Feel oilfield to between 50,000 and 60,000 bpd
from 80,000 bpd, the state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said on
China's purchasing manager's index, which measures the
country's manufacturing activity, was still below 50 indicating
a shrinking economy, Nunan said.
The flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell
to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from February's final
reading of 48.5. The preliminary March index showed new orders
slid for a fourth consecutive month, to 46.9 -- its lowest point
since July 2013, while output fell to 47.3, the lowest since
(Reporting By Keith Wallis; Editing by Michael Perry)