US benchmark contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February, was down 32 cents to USD 94.05 a barrel in the afternoon, while Brent crude for March reversed earlier losses to climb 19 cents at USD 106.54. (Agencies)
Iran yesterday halted production of 20 percent enriched uranium, as an interim deal between Tehran and world powers first reached in November came into force.
Under the agreement, Iran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for receiving modest relief from international sanctions and a promise by the so-called P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, United States plus Germany -- not to impose new sanctions against its hard-hit economy.
The deal helps reduce geopolitical risks in the oil-producing Middle East region, reducing threats of supply disruptions and putting downward pressure on prices.
Flat Chinese economic growth is also weighing on the market because of its impact on oil demand. China's GDP registered flat growth of 7.7 percent last year, maintaining its slowest expansion in more than a decade.
Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, said investors were closely watching growth in the world's second biggest economy.
"Everyone is trying to get a gauge about what's going to happen," Teoh said. "Crude oil sustained some headwinds from China's economic releases, which highlighted potential underlying risks in the world's second-largest economy," Phillip Futures added in a market commentary.
"Negative sentiments on the China market may dampen the demand for crude oil, given that China is the world's second-largest consumer for crude oil after US," it said.
US benchmark contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February, was down 32 cents to USD 94.05 a barrel in the afternoon, while Brent crude for March reversed earlier losses to climb 19 cents at USD 106.54.