Brent traded at 111.32 on Monday morning as investors waited for data from the largest oil consuming regions to confirm or deny their expectation that supply will exceed demand in the future.
The commodity held steadily above $111 ahead of the European Central Bank's monthly meeting and key trade data from China, due out on Thursday.
At the ECB meeting, also set for Thursday, European Finance Ministers are expected to keep the record low interest rate unchanged. Although the region is still struggling from heavily indebted economies, most expect that a rate cut won't come until later in the year. With the markets finally calmed in the wake of the Greek bailout decision, analysts believe it is unlikely the Finance Ministers will want to upset that balance.
December trade data from China will be a big indicator as to whether or not the number two oil consumer's economy is back on track. The data, coupled with fourth-quarter growth reports due out on January 18th is expected to confirm that the Chinese economy is in track for a steady recovery.
The long term worry for Brent is whether or not supply will overshadow demand in the future. According to Reuters, the International Energy Agency forecast oil demand to rise by 865,000 barrels per day, while they forecast that supply from non-OPEC countries will rise by 890,000. Analysts believe that the biggest factors to consider are the global economy and OPEC's ability to manage the oversupply.
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