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Crude Edges Down On Euro Zone Worries

The price of crude oil was lingering near $103 Monday morning amid concern over the euro zone debt crisis.

Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures for June delivery, eased $0.81 to $103.07 a barrel. Last week, oil ended up 1 percent on encouraging economic data that showed economic sentiment in Germany improved for the fifth straight month, while Spain's treasury bill auction saw strong demand although at a higher cost. An improving U.S. equity market also nudged oil prices.

This morning, the U.S. dollar was leveling off from its three-week low versus the euro and from a seven-month low against sterling. The buck was ticking higher versus the Swiss franc , while edging lower against the yen.

In economic new, the euro zone private sector activity declined further to a 5-month low in April, flash estimate published by Markit Economics showed. The composite output index dropped unexpectedly to 47.4 in April from 49.1 in March. Economists were forecasting the reading to rise to 49.3. A reading below 50 suggests contraction in the private sector.

A separate data from Markit Economics revealed that German private sector growth eased in April with activity reaching levels close to stagnation. The composite output index, that measures performance of both manufacturing and services, fell to a five-month low of 50.9 in April from 51.6 in March. A reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.

During this week, traders focus will be on the Commerce Department's new home sales report for March, the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index for March, April consumer conference readings based on separate surveys by the Conference Board and Reuters and the University of Michigan, the durable goods orders report and advance first quarter GDP estimates are among the other economic reports that could draw attention.

Also, focus will be on the crude oil inventories data from the API, due out Tuesday after the market hours, and the EIA due out the subsequent day.

by RTT Staff Writer

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