SINGAPORE: Oil retreated in Asian trade today as investors took profits from overnight gains, while weak euro zone manufacturing data also pressured prices, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May, shed 28 cents to $104.95 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May settlement was down 36 cents at $125.07 in morning trade.
Prices had surged in late trade yesterday, supported by stronger-than-expected industrial data in the United States, the world’s biggest oil user.
“There has been some profit-taking, from the price surge brought on by US manufacturing data,” said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz international energy consultants in Singapore.
“The manufacturing data that came out from Europe were quite weak, and that has offset the US data and is weighing on prices,” he told AFP.
A purchasing managers index (PMI) compiled by Markit research firm showed that eurozone manufacturing activity slumped to a three-month low in March, with major economies Germany and France hit by the slowdown.
The index, a survey of 3,000 euro zone manufacturers, fell to 47.7 points in March, down from 49 points in February.
A score below 50 indicates contraction.
A decline in new orders and rise in oil prices, which weighed on production costs, contributed to the decline in eurozone manufacturing activity, the research firm said.
There were “further signs that the manufacturing malaise already exhibited at the periphery of the currency bloc was spreading to the core,” it added.