Brent Steady at $116 on Positive Economic Data
Brent crude oil began Monday morning trading steadily above $116 as a stabilizing global economy and tension in the Middle East supported prices. Despite many analysts cautioning that the commodity is trading higher than it should, the market remained bullish and Brent traded at 116.31.
Positive data from both the U.S. and China revived hopes that the global economy was on the mend and that the world's two largest oil consumers were on track for consistent demand in 2013.
Last week U.S. data showed that U.S. payrolls increased by 157,000 last month and suggested the economy was picking up. Last week's factory data from China showed mild growth; and the nation's services sector increased for the fourth month in a row in January.
Even the eurozone's manufacturing data was viewed in a positive light. Although the numbers showed a contraction, according to CNBC, the figures were at their highest in 12 months.
Geopolitical tension in the Middle East reignited supply interruption fears as instability throughout the region was highlighted by a suicide bombing in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Sunday. The attack was the third of its kind and left 33 people dead as the region suffered through a clash between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan region.
Iran's nuclear development program also remained in the forefront of the region's problems as the United States and Europe continue to adhere to strict sanctions in an effort to cut funding to the program.
On Sunday, Iranian officials said they would accept the U.S.' offer to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve the dispute.
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