Weak Chinese imports, Greek uncertainty taint oil investment

Brent crude oil prices fell on the commodity market today, sliding back from their six-month peak and below $118 per barrel in London. The benchmark wavered just as China reported a surging trade surplus stemming from tumbling import rates. The fact that the world’s second biggest crude oil consumer showed signs of weakened demand negatively affected crude oil futures.

Crude prices spent the bulk of the session in limbo, as investment news surrounding Greece’s bailout package are still running high. Many analysts have expressed their scepticism with the addled nation’s deliberation. Greece will have to accept the bailout funds on offer along with the attached austerity measures if it is to avoid a default.

China’s previous month import figures kept a floor under oil investment, with reports suggesting that despite a momentary lapse, in the long term, the nation’s demand was in good standing.

Brent crude oil futures for settlement in March lost 63 cents to settle at $117.96 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. The European benchmark snapped an eight-day winning streak, yet traders remain hopeful for its short term future.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in March shed 32 cents and settled at $99.52 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil investment in the benchmark commodity are faltering at the moment, largely due to the fact that they are hovering close to the notoriously resistant $100 per barrel mark; however, expectations are running high that WTI will break the barrier in the near term.

Nevertheless, the uncertainties surrounding Greece caused the euro to retreat against the dollar on the currency index, pressuring foreign investors to abandon crude oil for the time being. A stronger greenback traditionally signifies a time of decreases for dollar-priced crude.