The price of oil fell slightly Monday, after a report showed a fourth month of contraction in China’s manufacturing sector.
Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery fell 28 cents to close at $99.48 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, dropped 87 cents to $107.72 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Meanwhile, it’s getting cheaper to buy gasoline in the U.S., and one popular price-watching site says prices have hit their springtime peak.
Oil prices were kept in check by new data pointing to a continuing slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest economy, and the possibility of lower energy demand.
China’s factory activity contracted again last month, according to HSBC’s purchasing manager index, and the pace of the decline was more severe than a preliminary version of the report indicated.
In the U.S., the average price for a gallon of gasoline is down about 2 cents in the past week to $3.67, according to AAA. GasBuddy.com, which tracks local gas prices, said Monday that prices have probably peaked for spring, and should fall by 3 cents to 10 cents a gallon between now and Memorial Day.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $2.91 a gallon.
— Heating oil lost 2 cents to $2.91 a gallon.
— Natural gas added 1 cent to $4.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.