Oil Pares Early Losses on Strong US Services Sector Data


NEW YORK, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil pared early losses on Monday to trade back toward $109 a barrel as selling pressure eased following a report showing strong growth in the U.S. services sector.

Brent and U.S. crude each lost more than $1 earlier in the session on news of rebounding production in Libya and the North Sea and as euro zone data showed an across-the-board drop in retail sales in June, the first decline in three months.

But both benchmarks rebounded after the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector surged to a five-month high in July.

"The market turned after the services number came out," said Gene McGillian, an energy analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

"Our little selloff was a continuation of profit-taking generated from last week's disappointing employment report and the Libyan export terminal coming back online, but it didn't really attract a lot of sellers."

Brent lost 25 cents to settle at $108.70 a barrel after earlier dropping as much as $1.40 to $107.55. U.S. crude oil futures lost 38 cents to settle at $106.56 a barrel after earlier falling to $105.70.

The North Sea Benchmark's premium to its U.S. counterpart widened to $2.14 per barrel after having reached intraday highs of $2.50 and lows of $1.55 by the time of settlement.


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