Brent near $108, slips on Iran and ahead of China/U.S. data
Brent crude futures slipped on Wednesday towards USD 108, dropping for a fourth straight day, as supply worries eased and on caution ahead of data from China and the United States, the world's two top oil consumers.Numbers due later this week may show China's exports, factory output and retail sales all edged up in July, in initial signs of the economy stabilizing. US government data later today on crude stockpiles will give investors an indication of the country's demand outlook.Brent crude slipped 13 cents to USD 108.05 a barrel by 0311 GMT, in its longest losing streak since mid-April. US oil gained 9 cents to USD 105.39, after an industry report showed a fall in US crude stocks."There is upcoming data from the United States and China that will give the market a sense of the demand outlook for oil," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. "But the short-term outlook on oil prices looks to be on the downside."Aside from data, any announcement from the US Federal Reserve on withdrawing its monetary stimulus would also impact oil, Spooner said. A pullback may boost the dollar, weighing on commodities such as oil that are priced in the US currency.U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week as refinery output inched up, by 3.66 million barrels in the week to 366.3 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a draw of 1.2 million barrels.