China's Weak Data Outweighs Concern Over Ukraine, Brent Slides
Brent crude oil traded at $108.29 at 5:45 GMT on Wednesday morning as worries about slipping global demand outweighed concern about the situation in Ukraine.
The commodity has been primarily weighed down by weak data from China, which many believe may set the tone for global appetite.
Investors are looking ahead to Thursday when China is set to release a host of fresh economic data. The number two oil consuming nation recently surprised investors with worse than expected trade figures, which many took as confirmation that the region's economy was in a rut. Industrial production, retail sales figures and urban investment data are all set to be reported on Thursday, which will give a clearer picture of the nation's economic health.
US inventories are also weighing on crude prices as investors look to the US Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday for the nation's most recent inventory data. According to CNBC, the American Petroleum Institute reported that US crude stocks increased by 2.6 million barrels last week, a far cry from analysts' expectations of a 2.2 million barrel increase.
Improving weather coupled with refinery shutdowns for scheduled maintenance have been cited as the cause for the unexpectedly weak inventory data.
However, the problems in Ukraine are not completely obsolete and have underpinned Brent prices as the tense situation shows no signs of easing. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government asked for Western intervention to help keep Russia from annexing the nation's Crimean peninsula. Russian troops have increased their presence on the peninsula and many see the region becoming a part of Russia over the next few days.
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