Brent slips below $108 on EU woes, dollar
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Brent crude slipped below $108 on Monday, hit by a stronger dollar and investors' worries that European leaders' historic pact on closer fiscal union might not be enough to contain the region's debt crisis.
Europe secured agreement on Friday to draft a new treaty for deeper economic integration but it could take three months to negotiate and may require referendums in countries such as Ireland.
Gold, base metals and the euro fell over scepticism the agreement would resolve the fiscal woes now engulfing the region's top economies, while a surge in China's crude imports revived hopes of demand growth recovery, capping losses.
Brent crude slipped 71 cents to $107.91 a barrel by 0501 GMT, after settling 51 cents higher. US crude fell 70 cents to $98.71, after settling more than $1.07 a barrel higher on Friday.
"Markets are analysing, scratching beneath the surface to see what the outcome means", said Ben Le Brun, a market analyst at OptionsXpress. "It's probably not a lot, not a silver bullet, but a step in the right direction."
Initial optimism over the European leaders' meeting, and news that China planned a new $300 billion vehicle to invest in Europe and the United States, pushed most markets, from global stocks to oil and metals, higher on Friday.
"The deal provides a framework for medium-term improvement in debt levels", said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CME Markets, in a report. However, investors are likely to remain nervous about the risk of near term contagion of the European debt situation.
Providing support to oil was weekend data out of China that showed crude imports rose 9 per cent from October to 22.96 million tonnes. It was the second highest volume on record when calculated on a daily basis, hitting 5.52 million barrels per day, just short of an all-time high of 5.67 million bpd in September 2010.
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