Brent Hovers at $100 Ahead of Fresh Economic Data

  on April 22 2013 8:27 AM

Brent crude oil began the week with little momentum after falling below $100 last week on weak demand growth prospects and poor economic data from some of the commodity's largest consumers. On Monday morning, Brent traded at $100.44 at 10:13 GMT.

When Brent prices dipped below the $100 mark, some members of OPEC began to worry because for many nations the budget break even point is $100. Leaders from Iran and Venezuela made comments indicating that the group was considering calling an emergency meeting ahead of its regularly scheduled May 31 summit, but no concrete plans have been made.

The HSBC April Purchasing Managers' Index is due out on Tuesday this week, data investors are likely to scour for any signs of growth in the US and China.

The recent string of poor data prompted talk of ending recent efforts to promote government austerity and reduce national debt at the G20 summit. After years of imposing strict austerity targets on its struggling members, eurozone leaders pledged to slow the pace of budget tightening at last week's G20 summit.

Brent could also see a lift from US first quarter GDP data, which is expected out on Friday. According to CNBC, analysts are predicting a 3.0 percent expansion for the first three months of 2013. That kind of increase will indicate that the nation's economy is on the mend, and could dispel rumors that the US is in for a spring slowdown for the fourth time in as many years.

Tension between the West and Iran over the nation's nuclear capability could also lift Brent prices as a new round of negotiations is on the books for May 21 in Vienna. Though the two sides have been willing to try to resolve the issue diplomatically, the talks have proved fruitless to date and the two have remained at a stalemate.

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