Brent Under Pressure From Chinese Data

   on May 13 2013 8:34 AM
Traders work in the crude oil and natural gas options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York
Traders work in the crude oil and natural gas options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York May 13, 2011. Oil prices rose on Friday, taking benchmark U.S. crude futures back up to $100 per barrel, after much higher-than-expected growth in Germany and France and a rebound in the euro against the dollar. Reuters

Brent crude oil ended last week on a low and settled at $102.94 at 7:42 GMT on Monday morning. The commodity suffered after implied oil demand and refinery crude in China fell and added to suspicion that the number two oil consuming nation's economy was still struggling.

According to CNBC, Chinese refinery crude throughput dropped in April, posting its lowest daily rate since September 2012. Data showed a 3 percent slump from March's figures, which many attributed to maintenance season. Although the nation's annual industrial output growth increased in April, the overall figure fell short of market expectations and ended up dragging Brent prices down.

US economic data also weighed on Brent prices after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve released a quarterly survey which painted a bleak picture of the future. According to the survey's 42 forecasters, the pace of US economic growth is expected to be sluggish in the second and third quarters of 2013.

Adding to pressure on Brent, the dollar found renewed strength as investors began to speculate that the Federal Reserve may pull back on its monetary stimulus program. News that the central bank had begun to map out a plan to wind down its bond buying program worth $85 billion lent strength to the dollar but made commodities more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Moving forward, most analysts are expecting to see Brent trade between $100 and $105 for the remainder of May. The commodity is stuck between an oversupplied market and a weak demand outlook, both of which are keeping a ceiling above prices.

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