- Crude futures fell on Tuesday after data revealed U.S., U.K. and European factories are expanding though still battling headwinds along their road to recovery.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oilfor delivery in May traded at $99.99 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 1.57%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $99.89 a barrel and a high of $101.56 a barrel.

The May contract settled down 0.09% at $101.58 a barrel on Monday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $98.82 a barrel, the low from March 25, and resistance at $101.96 a barrel, Monday''s high.

Factories in the western world are continuing to expand these days though at a slower clip than markets were anticipating, according to data released earlier.

In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management reported earlier that its manufacturing purchasing managers'' index rose to 53.7 in March from 53.2 in February, missing market expectations for a 54.0 reading.

The report showed that employment growth slowed, with the employment index falling to 51.1 from 52.3, the lowest level since June 2013.

Meanwhile in Europe, Markit Economics reported that the euro zone''s purchasing managers'' index came in at 50.3 in March, unchanged from February and in line with expectations.

However, average input costs declined for the second straight month and output prices also dipped, adding to pressure on the European Central Bank to implement fresh policy measures to stave off the threat of deflation in the region.

In the U.K., the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to an eight-month low of 55.3 last month from a downwardly revised 56.2 in February. Analysts had expected the manufacturing index to tick up to 56.7.

Any reading above 50 signifies expansion.

Prices were already on the decline after data on China''s manufacturing sector painted a mixed picture of the world''s second largest economy.

China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index ticked down to an 18-month low of 48.0 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February.

The report came after China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index inched up to 50.3 in March from 50.2 in February.

China is the world''s second largest oil consumer and manufacturing numbers are used as indicators for fuel demand growth.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for May delivery were down 1.62%, trading at US$106.02 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$6.03 a barrel.

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