Oil prices drop after weak Chinese trade data
Washington: Global oil prices fell Monday as weak Chinese trade data stoked concerns over demand in the world`s second largest economy.
New York`s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April, sank USD 1.46 cents to USD 101.12 a barrel.
And in London Brent North Sea crude for April fell 92 cents to stand at USD 108.08 a barrel in London deals.
"The sharp decline in Chinese exports in February is fueling fears that the global economy could be slowing down," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
"That said, the February data are distorted by the Chinese New Year celebrations, meaning that the situation will only become really clear once the figures for March have been published."
Chinese official figures released Saturday that showed the world`s second biggest economy recorded an unexpected USD 22.98 billion trade deficit in February.
The figure compared with what analysts expected would be a surplus of USD 11.9 billion.
"Any time there are concerns about China`s growth and the numbers point that way, that will obviously put downward pressure on oil prices, especially Brent prices," David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told AFP.
Investors continue to keep a close watch on the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine, as pro-Russian activists clashed with pro-Kiev supporters in mass rallies across the ex-Soviet state Sunday.
Meanwhile in Libya authorities stopped a North Korean-flagged tanker as it left a rebel-held port on Monday with an "illegal" shipment of crude, a military source said.