U.S. crude futures fell towards $49 a barrel on Monday after rising more than $1 in the previous session to close February with the first monthly gain since June last year. Economic data from manufacturing activity in China to jobs in the United States will dominate investors’ radar this week.
U.S. crude futures dropped 41 cents to $49.35 a barrel by 2351 GMT after a 3 percent gain in February. Brent crude was down 34 cents at $62.24 a barrel after posting an 18 percent gain in February, the largest monthly rise since May 2009.
Brent’s premium over U.S. crude CL-LCO1=R stretched to its widest since January 2014 on Friday at $13 a barrel. Oil prices have probably touched bottom and should recover in the second half of 2015 as the collapse in the market over the last year begins to curb production, a Reuters survey of analysts showed.