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Markets

Crude oil futures fall to session low following downbeat euro zone PMIs

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Investing.com - Crude oil futures fell to the lowest level of the session during European morning hours on Thursday, as investors sold growth-linked assets following the release of disappointing euro zone manufacturing data.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in May traded at USD92.88 a barrel during European morning trade, down 0.7% on the day.

New York-traded oil fell by as much as 0.8% earlier in the session to hit a daily low of USD92.80 a barrel.

Market research group Markit said that its preliminary euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to a seasonally adjusted 46.6 in March from a final reading of 47.9 in February.

Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 48.2 in March.

Meanwhile, Germany's manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to a seasonally adjusted 48.9 in March from a final reading of 50.3 in February, indicating contraction. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 50.5.

The report also showed that service sector activity in Germany expanded at the slowest rate in four months in March, with the services PMI falling to 51.6 from 54.7 in February.

The data came after a report showing that the French manufacturing PMI came in at 43.9 in March, unchanged from February's reading.

Service sector activity in France fell to a 49-month low of 41.9 in March from a final reading of 43.7 in February.

Meanwhile, in Cyprus, negotiations aimed at finding an alternative solution on a bailout deal for the tiny island continued after the country's parliament rejected a controversial bank deposit tax in a vote on Tuesday.

Cyprus needs to come up with EUR5.8 billion on its own in order to secure EUR10 billion in rescue loans from international creditors.

Oil prices were supported earlier in the day following the release of upbeat Chinese manufacturing data.

China's HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country's industrial activity, rose to 51.7 in March from a final reading of 50.4 in February.

China is the world's second largest crude oil consumer and manufacturing numbers are often used as indicators for fuel demand growth.

Sentiment was also supported after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to leave interest rates unchanged near zero and continue buying USD85 billion in debt each month, citing concerns over high unemployment levels and risks from tax increases and federal government spending cuts.

The U.S. is the world's biggest oil consuming country, responsible for almost 22% of global oil demand.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for May delivery declined 0.35% to trade at USD108.35 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD15.47 a barrel.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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