Crude tumbled on Tuesday, as constructive U.S. data wasn’t enough to counter lackluster manufacturing data from China and Europe, and the possibility of a jump in supplies from Libya.
Activity in China’s factory sector edged up in March, according to government data, which economists said was not enough to dispel concerns that the world’s second-largest economy slowed more than expected in the first quarter.
Growth in euro zone factories also cooled, a business survey showed on Tuesday, and firms have returned to cutting prices in order to drum up business.
Brent crude for May delivery was down $1 to under $107 a barrel. U.S. crude for May delivery also fell by $1 to under $101 a barrel, despite encouraging U.S. manufacturing data that showed the sector expanding in March.
Rebels in eastern Libya may be close to reopening three oil ports, which accounted for exports of 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) before they were occupied last summer, a leader from the rebels’ tribe told state media on Monday. Libya’s oil exports have fallen to less than 100,000 bpd from a post-civil war peak of more than 1 million bpd as armed militias and protestors have seized and blocked facilities.
The comments were the most optimistic for months and came after the government met a rebel demand to release three of their fighters, but a previous deal to reopen the ports fell through in December.
Investors also continued to keep tabs on the Ukraine crisis, which has raised fears of possible supply disruptions from Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter.