Brent futures steady at $110
Strong equities counter concerns of a build in United States crude stockpiles
Brent futures held steady at $110 a barrel this morning, drawing support from strong equity markets that helped counter concerns of a build in crude stockpiles for an eighth straight week in the world's largest oil consumer the United States.
The Dow Jones industrial average hit another record as Friday's solid US jobs data revived investor confidence of a steady recovery in the world's biggest economy, helping lift Asian shares and other riskier assets such as base metals.
For oil, support also came from data showing resilient demand from China, the world's top energy consumer.
Brent crude slipped 9 cents to $110.13 a barrel by 03.30 GMT, after settling lower for a second straight day. US oil gained 8 cents to $92.14, after ending 11 cents up.
"Oil prices are tracking stock markets as there are no major fundamental factors driving oil," said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity sales manager at Newedge in Tokyo.
"Concerns of a rise in inventory in the United States is a negative, but the oil market is supported by the rise we have seen in the Dow."
The lack of compelling factors driving prices will keep Brent trading in a tight range between $109 and $111.50 a barrel for the next 24 hours, while the US benchmark will swing in a $91 to $93 range, Mr Hasegawa said.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose for a seventh straight session and hit its highest intraday level since October 2007, while the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record 14,447.29 on Monday.
China's implied oil demand rose 4.9 per cent in February compared to a year earlier to about 10.14 million barrels per day (bpd) as refiners raised crude throughput.