Brent Plunges To 5-Month Low On China, Europe Factory Data


NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil futures fell in a steady slide on Tuesday to settle at nearly a five month-low as poor manufacturing data from China and Europe weighed. U.S. oil futures also fell as analysts looked toward another build in stocks Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity edged up in March, but not by enough to extinguish worries that the country, the world's No. 2 oil consumer, had a sharper-than-expected slowdown at the start of the year.

Growth in euro zone factories cooled too and companies have returned to cutting prices in order to drum up business.

U.S. oil was weighed throughout Tuesday's session by expectations that government data to be released Wednesday would show U.S. commercial crude stocks rose for 11th straight week in a row.

Preliminary data released late Tuesday by the industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed the opposite, though. Crude inventories dropped 5.8 million barrels in the week to March 28, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.1 million barrels, API data showed.

U.S. crude oil futures pared losses by about 30 cents in post-settlement trade immediately after the report was released.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official data on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).


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