Oil prices slipped Thursday after a report indicated manufacturing in China, the world's second biggest economy, shrank again in February, AP reported.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 9 cents to $103.22 a barrel at 0720 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract expires Thursday. It rose 88 cents to $103.31 a barrel on Wednesday. The April contract was down 18 cents at $102.66.
Oil fell after a monthly survey of factory managers by HSBC found that China's manufacturing, a pillar of the economy, contracted for a second straight month.
The HSBC purchasing managers' index also declined to the lowest since July, a sign of the extended slowdown in China as leaders in Beijing try to clamp down on an investment boom and refocus the economy on domestic consumption.
"Results from this private sector survey have deteriorated for four months now, which indicates an unambiguous trend of domestic growth deceleration," Societe-Generale economist Wei Yao said in a report.
Slower economic growth means less demand for energy.
Bent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 58 cents at $109.89 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.