Oil down in Asia on Chinese data, stronger dollar

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A woman waits beside a taxi fuelling up at a Sinopec gas station in Beijing. AFP FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE – Oil prices were down in Asia on Monday as Chinese industrial production showed signs of a slowdown, with the strong US dollar also putting pressure on prices, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April eased 26 cents to $91.69 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for April dipped 41 cents to $110.42 in late morning Asian trade.

Official data released Saturday showed inflation in China hitting a 10-month high in February.

Industrial output, which reflects production at China’s factories, workshops and mines, rose 9.9 percent year-on-year over the first two months of 2013, compared with 11.4 percent in the same period of 2012.

“Chinese data showing industrial production slowing has taken a toll on oil prices,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets Singapore.

Chinese energy demand has a major impact on oil futures prices.

Victor Shum, managing director at IHS Purvin and Gertz in Singapore, added that the pick-up in the greenback was also hitting prices.

“A booming oil supply, in combination with the strengthening of the dollar after a strong US jobs report last week, has caused some selling,” he said.

The US Labor Department on Friday reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February from 7.9 percent in January, and the country gained a better-than-expected net 236,000 jobs last month, raising hopes that the economy is strengthening.

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