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Brent Crude Below $103 with New Unrest in Libya

Source: Reuters 9/2/2014, Location: Africa

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Brent crude held steady below $103 a barrel on Tuesday, with new unrest in OPEC oil producer Libya balanced by concerns of slowing oil demand growth due to weak economic recoveries in China and Europe.

Euro zone manufacturing growth slowed slightly more than initially thought in August, while growth in China's factory sector slipped to a three-month low last month, adding to concerns about oil demand.

Brent prices have trended higher since the latter half of August as speculators stepped back into the market, following a drop of nearly $15 to around $101 a barrel over the previous two months.

"Still, the economic recovery in Europe and especially in China is not strong, and we've seen no supply shortages in Iraq," said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.

"There is no real direction in the market until heating oil demand kicks in closer to winter. We think the decline in oil prices has stopped and it will not go below $100, but upside is also limited at the moment," Hasegawa said.

Brent crude for October delivery was 7 cents higher at $102.86 a barrel at 0328 GMT. The contract had ended the previous session 40 cents lower.

U.S. crude was down 13 cents from Friday's close, at $95.83 a barrel. Trading in the United States was shut on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

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