Brent near flat as euro zone worry offsets China data
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude prices hovered near unchanged on Tuesday as concerns about Europe's economy after credit downgrades in the region last week highlighted the risk to oil demand and countered support from the weaker dollar and better-than-expected Chinese data on economic growth.
U.S. crude held on to its stronger gains, after Brent's expiring February contract rose 76 cents on Monday while its U.S. counterpart only saw electronic trade for Tuesday trade date due to a holiday.
"Most of it is WTI playing catch-up from the holiday," added John Kilduff, a partner at hedge fund Again Capital in New York. "Brent looks to be reflecting the euro zone concerns. The China GDP was good, but exports were down and that highlights the slowdown in Europe."
China's economy grew at 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and though this was better than the forecast of 8.7 percent made by economists in a Reuters poll, it was the weakest pace in 2-1/2 years.
The slowing growth revealed in the GDP data had some traders and investors hopeful that the Chinese might begin monetary easing.
China's crude imports graphics: r.reuters.com/kav85s