Brent Steady Above $105 After Poor Manufacturing Data
Easing geopolitical tension coupled with worrisome economic figures pushed Brent crude oil to a near five month low on Tuesday.
The commodity steadied at $105.61 at 5:45 GMT on Wednesday morning as investors looked to the US for crude inventory data and a better picture of the number one oil consuming nation's appetite.
In Libya, where oil exports have been depressed to less than half of their normal capacity for months, rebel groups have agreed to reopen some of the nation's oilfields.
Anti-government groups have seized control of the majority of Libya's oilfields, cutting the OPEC member's output for eight months. The groups were demanding more political rights as well as a share of the nation's oil revenue.
Now, CNBC reported that rebels in eastern Libya have made a deal with the government in which it will give back control of Libya's vital oil ports. The ports are expected to reopen in a matter of days.
Manufacturing data from both Europe and China also weighed on crude prices. Most worrisome was China's figures, which showed that the nation's enormous manufacturing industry had contracted for the third consecutive month in March.
An OPEC report helped keep a floor under prices as it showed that the group's March output was at its lowest since December. Outages in Africa as well as a setback in Iraq's oil revival contributed to the group's depressed exports.
Moving forward investors will be watching for inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration for a better idea of US demand.
On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute showed that US crude stocks fell 5.8 million barrels last week, a far cry from analysts' expectations of a 1.1 million barrel increase.
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