* China March PMI at 50.3 vs February's 50.2 - govt
* Russia pulls back some troops from near Ukraine's eastern
* Libyan rebels say to restart 3 oil ports - state media
* Coming up: API weekly oil stocks data; 2030 GMT
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE, April 1 Brent crude held above $107 a
barrel on Tuesday, unmoved by manufacturing data from China that
was in line with forecasts as traders await U.S. jobs figures
later this week to assess global economic health and fuel
Activity in China's factory sector edged up slightly in
March, a government survey showed, though the figure is unlikely
to dispel concerns that the world's second-largest economy
slowed more than expected in the first quarter.
May Brent crude was at $107.67 a barrel, down 9
cents by 0244 GMT. U.S. crude for May delivery edged down
23 cents to $101.35 a barrel.
"People are reluctant to take any fresh macro interpretation
until we see what the U.S. unemployment data holds for us," Mark
Keenan, head of commodities research in Asia at Societe
Generale, said, referring to the non-farm payrolls data due on
"That's going to be the major determinant for prices in the
macro perspective. Until then I think we're just going to be
driven by fundamental data with respect to inventory."
U.S. commercial crude oil stocks likely continued to build
last week on higher imports despite an expected upswing in
refinery runs, while inventories of refined oil products were
projected to have fallen, a preliminary Reuters poll of four
Crude stocks are expected to rise 2.5 million barrels on
average for the week ending March 28, according to the poll.
"We're entering into a seasonally weak period for the oil
complex. Refinery runs will start to slow down and that will
weigh on prices," Keenan said.
Oil may face further downward pressure if Libya manages to
resume more production. Rebels in eastern Libya are close to
reopening three oil ports they have occupied since the summer to
press Tripoli for autonomy and a greater share of oil revenue, a
leader from the rebels' tribe told state media on
Investors continued to keep tabs on the Ukraine crisis which
has raised jitters in global financial markets.
In a gesture that could ease tension in the worst East-West
stand-off since the Cold War, Russia pulled some troops back
from near Ukraine's eastern frontier - a move the United States
said would be a positive sign if it is confirmed as a
"The relationship between oil prices and the Russian
situation has always been a little tenuous," Keenan said. "The
commodities more specifically sensitive are natural gas, grain
markets and maybe gold as a safe haven."
"Russia doesn't need Europe as the buyer of its crude and
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)