Investing.com - Crude oil prices fell in Asia on Tuesday on uncertain demand prospects from heavyweight importer China, but remained supported by concerns of fresh economic sanctions slapped on Russia, the world''s top oil producer, by the West for annexing Crimea.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil for delivery in May traded at $99.35 a barrel, down 0.25%, in a thin data day in Asia and affter hitting an overnight session low of $99.06 a barrel and a high of $100.29 a barrel.
Brent Oil crude on ICE Futures Europe shed 11 cents, or 0.1%, to $106.81 a barrel on Monday.
The European Union and the U.S. last week intensified sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies to pressure his government to defuse the global standoff over Ukraine.
Western nations added new names to their lists of Russians and Ukrainians punished with asset freezes and travel bans.
Russia followed suit with similar sanctions, and while viewed by markets as a tit-for-tat measure, oil prices rose on concerns diplomatic efforts to diffuse the crisis may be unraveling.
Capping gains, however, were soft Chinese factory numbers.
China’s HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country''s industrial activity, fell to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February, defying expectations for a rise to 48.7.
China is the world''s second-largest consumer of crude.