Crude falls on US budget, China data concerns

01 March 2013 11:51  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude values fell by more than $1.00/bbl on Friday undermined by a lack of progress in US budget talks and weaker than expected manufacturing data from China.

At 11:18 GMT, April Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange was trading at $110.59/bbl, down by 79 cents/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the North Sea benchmark fell to a session low of $110.06/bbl, down by $1.32/bbl.

April NYMEX light sweet crude futures (WTI) were trading at $91.15/bbl, down by 90 cents/bbl from the previous close. Earlier, the US benchmark fell to a session low of $90.97/bbl, down by $1.08/bbl.

Crude prices fell to lows last seen in late December amid the continued US budget crisis. Democratic and Republican leaders have been unable to reach agreement on proposed budget bills. Meanwhile, looming automatic cuts totalling some $85bn (€65bn) are set to take effect on Friday.

There are fears that the US Government spending cuts could have a significant negative impact on growth in the world’s biggest economy.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the official Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for February hit a five month low to 50.1, down from 50.4 in January. The data was worse than had been forecast and suggests that growth in China’s manufacturing sector declined amid lower domestic and overseas demand. A figure below 50 indicates a contraction in economic activity.

Meanwhile, statistics agency Eurostat revealed that the unemployment rate in the 17 nation eurozone climbed to a record high of 11.9% in January from 11.8% in December. However, on a more positive note Eurostat also reported that inflation in the eurozone had decline to 1.8% in February. The figure was in line with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) inflation target.

($1 = €0.77)

By: James Dennis
+65 6780 4327

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