Brent falls towards $114 on weak demand outlook

Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:56am EDT
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By Alice Baghdjian

LONDON (Reuters) - Brent futures fell towards $114 a barrel on Monday as worries over weak global oil demand tempered positive Chinese and U.S. data.

Data over the weekend showed China's September exports grew at roughly twice the rate expected, while imports also increased, possibly indicating that measures to spur growth in the world's second largest economy are working.

But exports to the European Union - the single biggest overseas market for Chinese goods - fell for a fourth month and crude demand in China remained relatively weak, underlining a worsening outlook for global fuel consumption.

Prices were also hurt as the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week cut its demand growth forecast for next year.

Brent crude was down 7 cents to $114.55 a barrel by 1330 GMT, after sliding 75 cents in the previous session. U.S. oil was down $1.25 at $91.61.

U.S. retail sales rose in September as Americans bought more of everything from cars to gasoline and electronics, pointing to stronger-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter.

Customs data showed exports from China in September grew 9.9 percent from a year earlier, roughly twice the 5.0 percent rate expected by investors and up sharply from the 2.7 percent annual rise recorded in August.

At 4.89 million barrels, China's crude oil imports were 12.8 percent higher on a daily basis than the 22-month low of 4.33 million bpd in August, data over the weekend showed.   Continued...

A worker holds up a fuel pump nozzle after filling up the tank of a car at a petrol station in Cairo October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany