West Texas Intermediate crude traded near a two-week low as a manufacturing gauge added to signs of an economic slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer. Brent was steady in London.
Futures were little changed in New York after falling the most since Jan. 2 yesterday. A preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 48.3 for April, signaling a fourth month of contraction. U.S. crude stockpiles probably rose for the 13th time in 14 weeks, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data today. Ukraine is considering resuming operations to oust militants as an accord to ease tension with Russia faltered.
“The market is nervous about China,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin in Sydney who predicts investors may sell West Texas contracts if prices advance to $104 a barrel. “The Russian situation remains a focal point.”