Brent Crude Falls On Weak China Data in Volatile Trading
NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell and U.S. crude edged slightly higher in chopping trading on Monday as lackluster manufacturing data from the world's largest oil consumer was balanced by supply concerns over the Ukraine crisis and turmoil in Libya.
China's manufacturing activity shrank in March, a preliminary private survey showed, pointing to slowing demand in the world's biggest energy consumer and adding to a string of weak indicators this year that have reinforced concerns about a slowdown.
Supply concerns supported Brent oil for most of the day, on the risk that a confrontation with the West over Ukraine could lead to a disruption of energy supplies from Russia, a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe.
Libyan oil exports are also running at more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) below capacity thanks to civil unrest.
The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained support from reports Monday that major Texas shipping channels for the delivery of crude oil to more than one-tenth of the nation's refining capacity were shut for a third day, as the cleanup from a spill threatened to last through the week.
"It's a two-sided trade right now, of demand expectations versus supply disruptions," said Phil Flynn, an analyst with the Price Futures Group in Chicago, Illinois.
Brent crude for May fell 11 cents to settle at $106.71 a barrel. The oil benchmark fell for a fourth straight week last week. U.S. crude oil rose 14 cents to settle at $99.60 a barrel.
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