Brent above $116 on economy hopes
Brent crude steadied above $116 as data from the US and China reinforced a view the global economy was headed for a modest uptick this year.
Brent crude steadied above $116 per barrel this morning, holding near a more than four-month high, as data from the United States and China reinforced a view that the global economy was headed for a modest uptick this year.
Positive US employment numbers and confirmation of a mild recovery in China, evidenced by purchasing manager surveys, allayed some concerns about weak fuel demand from the world's two biggest oil users.
"We are now seeing a consistent story of moderate growth in the US and China, which is supportive of oil prices in general," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"This will probably be a week of consolidation." Brent traded 14 cents lower at $116.62 per barrel at 03.40 GMT, holding near a 4-1/2-month high of $117.07 reached on Friday. It has risen for three straight weeks.
US crude slipped 18 cents to $97.59 per barrel, after rising for eight straight weeks, the longest such winning streak since July-August 2004.
Brent's premium to US crude widened to above $19 per barrel on Friday, a level last seen in early January, on swelling inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Traders expect stocks at Cushing to keep building as the Seaway pipeline, which had been expected to absorb some of those stocks, may not be able to run at full capacity until the second half of the year.