Brent, US crude fall on oversupply, poor China data
Crude oil futures fell on Monday, touching fresh multi-month lows after disappointing data from China over the weekend showed exports tumbled in the world's second-largest economy.
Exports fell 8.3 percent in July, the biggest decline in four months, as weaker global demand for Chinese goods and a strong yuan policy hurt manufacturers.
Producer prices in July were at the lowest point since late 2009, during the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and have been sliding continuously for more than three years.
China's economy is officially forecast to grow at 7 percent this year, strong by global standards, but some economists believe it is growing at a much slower pace.
"The trade data over the weekend would probably have the market a little uneasy," said Mark Pervan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ in Melbourne.
Brent LCOc1 was down 24 cents at $48.37 a barrel at 0537 GMT, after touching a more-than-six-month low of $48.26. U.S. crude CLc1 fell 21 cents to $43.66 and fell to $43.35 earlier, a nearly- five- month low. Both benchmarks have fallen for six straight weeks, weighed down by chronic oversupply and sagging demand.
"There are a hell of a lot of aboveground stocks, particularly U.S. stocks, setting a record or just coming off record levels," Pervan said, also pointing to Iranian crude stored in tankers that is starting to come to market after a recent landmark nuclear deal.
Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday that the U.S. oil rig count had risen by six, adding to bearish sentiment for crude as it signaled production could creep up from higher drilling activity.
Drillers have added a total of 32 oil rigs over the past three weeks. "They are very creative," Pervan said, referring to U.S. drillers. "They have the infrastructure and technological know-how to continue to eke out small cost reductions on a pretty regular basis."