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Oil little changed over China, Ukraine

The price of oil was little changed Tuesday as signs of slower growth in China were tempered by ongoing tensions over Ukraine.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was down 1 cent at US$100.58 a barrel at 0910 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 60 cents to US$100.59 on Monday as traders worried about the turmoil in Ukraine and prolonged disruption of oil exports from Libya despite muted demand and plentiful supplies.

Ken Hasegawa, energy market analyst at Newedge brokerage in Tokyo, said the market has been “very steady, very much in a narrow range and without direction.”

He said the oil price has been fully supported by a gradual global economic recovery, tensions in Ukraine and decreasing output by OPEC to control the market. But on the other side, gains have been limited because of a lot of inventory in the U.S. and slower economic growth in China and India.

Partial economic indicators released by China for April suggested the economy was still struggling to meet the official 7.5 percent growth target for this year.

Brent crude was down 11 cents at US$107.68 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.3 cent to US$2.918 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.2 cent at US$4.432 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was nearly unchanged at US$2.919 a gallon.

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