World oil prices were lower on Monday, in line with falling stock markets, as traders digested downbeat Chinese and eurozone economic data.
Brent North Sea crude for June dropped 84 cents to $117.92 per barrel in London late morning deals.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in June shed 77 cents to $103.11.
HSBC's China purchasing managers index (PMI), which measures factory output, rose to 49.1 in April from 48.3 in March but the reading remained below the key boom-or-bust 50-point level, indicating an improvement but no return to expansion just yet.
China's economy is closely watched by oil traders as it is the world's largest energy consuming nation.
"HSBC's PMI reading for China again showed a reading below 50 questioning the health of the world's second largest economy," said analysts at the Vienna-based JBC Energy consultancy in a research note to clients.
At the same time, a key survey on Monday showed that eurozone private sector activity sank at the fastest rate in five months in April, another sign of recession in the 17-nation monetary union.
The composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) compiled by the London-based research firm Markit fell to 47.4 from 49.1 in March.
Traders also took their cue from sliding European equities as investors sold off on the data which added to persistent eurozone debt tensions while the French presidential election results provided no comfort with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy coming second in the first round to his Socialist rival.
Investors were also looking to a meeting of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate-setting panel on Tuesday and Wednesday amid fresh anxiety over the slow pace of recovery in the world's largest economy.
Analysts said the Fed meeting would decide whether more economic stimulus is warranted as high fuel prices, slowing job growth and Europe's debt problems have raised fears of another stumble.
Source: AFP Global Edition