CNBC reported that China's HSBC flash purchasing managers' index fell from last month's reading to 50.4. The lower figure suggested that China's demand growth would slow and future demand worries resurfaced and put pressure on Brent prices.
Investors will also be watching for the outcome of Italian elections, which will wrap up their second and final day of voting on Monday afternoon. After opinion polls began to show that anti-austerity parties like Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo were gaining momentum, many worried that the vote could result in a very unstable Italian government.
The markets are also waiting to hear from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to find out if the Fed is planning to end its bond buying stimulus plan. After minutes from the Fed's meeting indicated that several Fed officials were considering slowing or stopping the asset buying program, Brent turned bearish and lost some of its ground.
US budget negotiations are also putting pressure on the commodity as Democrats and Republicans struggled to negotiate the nation's debt as the deadline approached. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement in the next five days, wide ranging budget cuts totaling nearly $85 billion will come into effect.
Highly anticipated talks between world powers and Iran are also keeping Brent trading in a narrow range. On Tuesday, negotiations will resume over Tehran's nuclear program. After slapping the nation with heavy sanctions in order to cut funding to its nuclear development program, diplomats are expected to offer to cut back some of the sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its uranium production.
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