Oil prices fall on weak China manufacturing data

Friday 22 August 2014 19.15
Oil prices fall on lower than expected Chinese manufacturing data
Oil prices fall on lower than expected Chinese manufacturing data

Oil prices fell today amid downbeat Chinese manufacturing data and the low likelihood of supply disruptions in conflict-hit Iraq, Ukraine and Libya. 

October Brent crude was down 32 cents to $102.31 a barrel, while US crude was down 83 cents at $93.13 a barrel.

The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index for China's manufacturing sector, published yesterday, slipped to 50.3 in August, down from a final reading of 51.7 in July. The figure was the lowest for three months, the bank said.

The indicator is a closely watched gauge of the health of the Asian economic powerhouse, with a reading above 50 indicating the sector is expanding. 

Analysts said that oil prices are perhaps also under pressure as dealers stand on the sidelines tracking the various geopolitical crises going on right now. 

In Iraq, the OPEC oil cartel's second-biggest producer, Islamist militants who have overrun large swathes of the country's north and west are now being pinned back by US military strikes that began on August 8. 

In Libya, another OPEC member, crude exports are steadily increasing after a deal between Tripoli and rebels ended a year-long blockade of terminals. 

And concerns over the prospect of a full-blown military conflict between Russia and Ukraine have also eased after multi-party talks aimed at diffusing the situation last weekend.