Financial markets remained under pressure ahead of US session. In the commodity sector, the front-month contract for WTI crude oil price decline for a 4th consecutive day to as low as 96.71 while the equivalent Brent crude contract slumped to 112.11. Oil was also weighed down by Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi's comments that prices were still too high.

Ali al-Naimi stated that the Kingdom is storing as much as 80M barrels of crude and is can be used boost supply and bring down international prices which were still a little bit high. The state's oil company stated that it expects to boost its volume to 1.5M bpd of crude oil refined products from an average level of 500K to 600K bpd. According to Goldman Sachs Saudi's main motivation for building hude curde stockpile is to satisfy the rising demand for power output domestically.

Elsewhere, Libya's Arabian Gulf Oil Company said it has lowered its crude oil production by -20K bpd as protests have caused suspension in its headquarters for more than a week. In Iran, oil output climbed +16K bpd after the Yadavaran oilfield has become operational. On the demand side, sanctions on Iran remained alive and it's reported that India pledged to cut its imports of Iranian oil by -20%.

On the dataflow, Germany's industrial production surprisingly gained +2.8% m/m in March, following upward revision of February's reading to -0.3%. Canada's housing starts are expected to have fallen to 205K in April from 215.6K a month ago.