Investors will also closely track speeches this week from the new
head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, for assurance that
monetary policy will stay loose.
March Brent crude fell 33 cents to $109.24 a barrel by 0349 GMT,
easing from a session high of $109.75, its loftiest since Jan. 2.
U.S. crude for March delivery was down 3 cents at $99.85, after
rising to $100.46 earlier in the session, the highest since Dec. 27.
"We are striking resistances on both charts, Brent and West Texas. I
suspect that's containing the exuberance in the market," CMC Markets
chief strategist Michael McCarthy said.
"Should we push through say $100.50 on West Texas and $110 on Brent,
we could see a spike on technical buying that could continue the
Oil jumped more than $2 on Friday as investors overlooked lower than
expected U.S. non-farm payroll data to focus on a frigid winter that
has boosted oil products demand.
"The overall picture of the economy remains one coming out of
recession and quite clearly in recovery mode," McCarthy said.
Brent prices could also be supported by tighter Forties supply this
year as Britain's biggest oilfield, Buzzard, will undergo a total
nine weeks of maintenance in 2014, rather than the two weeks traders
[to top of second column]
Both the oil benchmarks appeared overbought on technical charts,
pointing to lower prices, said Tetsu Emori, a commodity manager at
Investors were also treading cautiously amid risks in emerging
economies, he said.
Easing geopolitical tensions over Iran's nuclear programme weighed
on oil prices as supply from the OPEC producer could rise if Tehran
reaches a final deal with world powers.
Iran has agreed to start addressing suspicions that it may have
worked on designing an atomic weapon, the U.N. nuclear agency said
Iran and six world powers are due on Feb. 18 to start a final round
of talks aimed at reaching a broader diplomatic settlement with the
(Reporting by Florence Tan; editing
by Tom Hogue)
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