Brent crude fell below $120 on Monday as growing worries about the global economy from Europe to China, the world’s No. 2 oil consumer, reinforced concerns about slowing demand for petroleum.
But the slide in crude prices was stemmed by lingering concerns that western sanctions could further disrupt Iranian oil exports.
Front-month Brent crude slipped $1.3 to $119.9 a barrel by 0731 GMT, after settling at $121.2 a barrel on Friday. US oil slipped 79 cents to $102.1 a barrel after settling at $102.8.
“The weaker-than-expected Chinese data appears to be the key driver of the market right now,: said Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo-based commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments.
Oil prices were also under pressure after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi said on Friday that the country is determined to bring down high oil prices and is working with fellow OPEC members to accomplish that.