NEW YORK – Oil prices edged lower on Monday as a rebound in Libyan oil output weighed against upbeat economic data from Asia, according to a Reuters report.
Benchmark Brent futures for June delivery were down 42 cents to $53.11/bbl, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 40 cents to $50.20/bbl.
Traders noted that both US and Brent futures retreated after failing to rise much above their 100-day moving averages, a technical resistance level.
Libya’s Sharara oil field, the country’s largest, resumed production on Sunday after a week-long disruption. State-owned NOC lifted force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude on Monday, sources told Reuters. The field was producing around 120,000 b/d on Monday and about 220,000 b/d prior to the March 27 shutdown.
Arising US rig count also pressured oil prices, making the first quarter the strongest for rig additions since mid-2011.
Still, data from Asia suggested solid energy demand going forward. Manufacturing data showed factories across much of Asia posted another month of solid growth in March.
Last week, oil prices rallied for three days on reduced Libyan output and expectations that OPEC and non-OPEC producers would extend production cuts beyond June.