Oil mixed as poor German bond sales, China data weigh

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Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade Thursday as European economic giant Germany saw poor bond sales and China's manufacturing data sank to a 32-month low, analysts said.

New York's main contract for January delivery fell 24 cents to $95.93 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January rose 27 cents to $107.29.

"Overall markets are under pressure," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.

"Economic threats loom large, with the latest news out of Europe (on) the disastrous German bond sales yesterday and the data out of China showing contraction in manufacturing activity this month," he told AFP.

"There has been a barrage of bad economic news reminding markets that the global economy is still struggling."

Investors on Wednesday shunned an issue of German 10-year bonds, considered the gold standard of eurozone debt, making bids of only 3.9 billion euros ($5.2 billion) for the 6.0 billion euros of securities on offer.

The poor bond sale yet again highlighted a lack of investor confidence in the eurozone due to its persistent debt woes.

In China, banking giant HSBC reported Wednesday that manufacturing activity in the world's biggest energy consumer slumped to its lowest level in 32 months in November, renewing fears the Asian powerhouse is losing steam amid global economic woes.

The preliminary HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped to 48 in November -- the lowest since March 2009 -- compared with 51 in the previous month, HSBC said in a statement.

© 2011 AFP

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