* U.S. gasoline falls to one-month low
* China factory activity down for fourth month
* Ukraine tension escalates
* Protest ends at Libya's EL Sharara
(Adds settlement prices)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, May 5 Brent crude oil fell by more
than $1 a barrel on Monday, pressured by reports that China's
manufacturing sector contracted and Libya's oil output was
U.S. gasoline prices fell to their lowest point in more than
a month as traders sold off long positions ahead of the switch
in gasoline grades for the summer driving season. The seasonal
trend pulled the entire global oil complex lower, analysts said.
"The bottom is falling out of RBOB," said Walter Zimmermann,
chief technical analyst at United-ICAP in New Jersey. "You have
serious long liquidation. There is no way Brent or WTI can have
an up day when the gasoline market is in a nosedive."
Brent crude for June delivery settled 87 cents lower
at $107.72 a barrel. The European benchmark fell as much as
$1.54 earlier in the session. U.S. crude settled 28 cents
lower at $99.28 a barrel.
U.S. gasoline settled 3.5 cents lower at $2.9092 a
gallon, its lowest settlement since April 2. The contract rose
to a high of $3.1128 on April 24, and has fallen steadily since.
Ample supply is also weighing on the contract. Last week's
report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an
unexpected increase in gasoline stockpiles.
Capping losses in U.S. crude oil was news that growth in the
U.S. services sector accelerated in April, rising at the fastest
pace in eight months, providing further evidence that economic
activity is regaining momentum after lagging through much of the
The result of the HSBC/Markit purchasing managers' index for
China added to worries that the Chinese economy is still losing
In Libya, tribesmen ended a blockade of the El Sharara
oilfield and engineers said they hoped to resume pumping within
The global oil market appeared to shrug off the ongoing
violence in Ukraine.
Pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in
fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk, and Kiev
drafted police special forces to the southwestern port city of
Odessa to halt a feared westward spread of rebellion.
In response, Russia's foreign ministry called on Kiev to
"stop the bloodshed, withdraw forces and finally sit down at the
Russia, which supplies a third of the European Union's
natural gas demand, much of which passes through Ukraine, has
threatened to reduce supplies to Kiev in June if no prepayment
(Reporting by Alex Lawler and Jacob Pedersen; Editing by Jason
Neely, Keiron Henderson, Peter Galloway, Marguerita Choy and