Oil prices edged lower in early Asian trade on Tuesday after activity in China’s factory sector fell to an 11-month low, stoking worries over the strength of the world’s No.2 economy. The flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 49.2 in March, below the 50-point level that separates growth in activity from a contraction on a monthly basis. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 50.6.
Brent crude oil futures were trading down 11 cents at $55.81 a barrel at 10.15 p.m. ET. U.S. WTI crude dropped 20 cents to $47.25 a barrel. Worries over slowing growth in China’s economy have contributed to a global surplus in oil supplies.
“We expect crude prices to be pressured once again by the weight of some 2 million barrels per day of oversupply in Q2 2015,” energy consultancy FGE said in a note on Tuesday. The refinery sector has benefited from cheap oil, which has improved margins for oil products such as diesel or jet fuel.
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