Crude oil prices declined in Asia Tuesday as the weak U.S. manufacturing data and the concerns about the fiscal cliff weighed on sentiment.
Light sweet crude for January delivery declined 0.51 percent or 45 cents to $88.64 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during Asian trading hours. Brent crude oil futures for the January delivery fell 0.29 percent or 32 cents to $110.60 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
Investor sentiment turned negative overnight after a report showed that the U.S. manufacturing activity declined to the lowest level in more than three years in November. The Institute of Supply Management's (ISM) U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) declined to 49.5 in November, the lowest level since July 2009, from 51.7 in October and also fell short of Reuters' expectation of 51.3 reading.
New orders index declined to 50.3 in November from 54.2 in October and the employment index fell to 48.4 in from 52.1 in the previous month, highlighting the worrying outlook of the U.S. recovery.
Sentiment was also weighed down by the lack of progress by President Barack Obama and the congressional leaders to reach a conciliation to avert the fiscal cliff.
"Oil markets are starting to come off on the weaker-than-expected manufacturing data and the fact that the U.S. economic outlook remains unclear. We are also seeing mixed headlines on the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations, so markets have already taken on a cautious outlook on that account," Natalie Rampono, commodity strategist at ANZ in Sydney, told Reuters.
Oil futures pared earlier gains and ended slightly higher Monday as the weak U.S. data offset positive impact from solid Chinese manufacturing data for the month of November. A private sector survey released Monday showed that that China’s manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in more than a year in November while the official data released Saturday showed that Chinese manufacturing activity expanded for the second straight month in November, signaling faster growth in the world's second-largest oil consumer.
Light sweet crude for the January delivery gained 0.2 percent or 18 cents and settled at $90.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude for the January delivery fell 31 cents and settled at $110.92 a barrel.