Brent Settles Lower on Demand Woes

  on May 01 2013 9:27 AM

A cloudy global economic future coupled with rising supply caused Brent crude oil to begin May on shaky ground as the commodity weakened on the first of the month. Brent fell to $101.52 at 9:44 GMT on Wednesday morning amid poor economic data and rising supply speculation. The commodity made a modest recovery at the end of April after falling more than 7 percent throughout the month after data indicated a fragile global economy. On Tuesday, record high unemployment figures suggested that the eurozone was going to have another tumultuous quarter and in turn, lower oil consumption. The region as a whole reported a 12.1 percent jobless rate in April, 0.1 percent higher than February and March's figures. Rising supply also affected the commodity on Tuesday after the American Petroleum Institute reported that US crude stocks increased more than forecast. Original estimates showed a 1 million barrel increase, but according to CNBC, US crude stocks were up 5.2 million barrels. Also weighing on Brent prices is a report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is expected to show that average supply from the group will have increased to 30.46 million barrels per day in April from 30.18 bpd in March. Brent prices have found little support from the world's two largest consumers, the US and China. Both have been struggling to maintain consistent economic growth and oil demand growth has been shaky as a result. Chinese PMI data showed the region's manufacturing sector had slowed in April and created uncertainty about the nation's economic strength. Looking forward, investors will be waiting for ISM manufacturing data from the US, Which is set to be released on Wednesday afternoon. Investors will also be eyeing the Federal Reserve meeting, which will conclude on Wednesday as well. Most are expecting the central bank to maintain its current bond buying stimulus policy in an effort to heal the job market.

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