Oil prices down ahead of Chinese manufacturing data

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asia Monday as dealers await key Chinese manufacturing data for clues about demand in the world´s top energy consumer, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 40 cents to $92.01 while Brent crude for November fell 48 cents to $97.91 in afternoon trade.

Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said Tuesday´s release of HSBC´s flash September purchasing managers index (PMI) for the Chinese manufacturing sector comes “after a bout of economic reports came in below expectations”. He added that another weak reading “will underscore weakness in the Chinese economy”.

Singapore´s United Overseas Bank (UOB) said the “market is expecting a further decline in the PMI to 50.0 from 50.2 in August after having retreated from 51.7 in July.

“The index tracks manufacturing activity in China´s factories and workshops and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

UOB said investors will also be scrutinising US and eurozone PMI data to be released Tuesday. They are also keeping tabs on Scotland. While voters on Friday rejected independence, the huge support for a break from Westminster means Britain´s government will have to usher in a major shake-up that will give Edinburgh more autonomy.

While there is no clear path for crude prices following the result, the vote has put into focus the future of large reserves in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland.