Brent crude oil neared $103 on Tuesday as hopes that the US economy was getting back on track countered the commodity's losses due to waning demand. Brent traded steadily at $102.92 at 6:12 GMT on Tuesday morning.
The commodity suffered losses on Monday after Chinese refineries dropped their processing to an eight month low. Businessweek reported that the nation's refining slipped to 9.36 million barrels per day, eight percent lower than December's record. China's apparent oil demand also fell to an 8 month low in April and reconfirmed concern about the nation's lack of recovery.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp is expected to cut processing by 1.5 million metric tons due to higher fuel stockpiles. As the nation's largest refiner, the decision has put pressure on Brent prices.
Hopes of demand revival elsewhere added some support to the commodity, although most remained cautious despite encouraging data.
Increasing US retail sales data added to hopes that the US economy could be getting back on track. Recent data from the nation has been mixed, but many believe the retail sales figures point to underlying strength.
Though the possible US recovery gave Brent a bit of a lift, poor data in China and even worse growth in Europe has kept a firm lid on prices. A recent survey from the eurozone showed public opinion of the half-century-old union was crumbling. Although a significant majority reportedly wanted to keep the euro, distrust and disappointment were a common theme among member states which were losing faith in the region's policies.
CNBC reported that analysts are expecting to see Brent trading between $102 and $105 over the next few days as new data continues to push and pull the commodity with conflicting reflections of the global economy.
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