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Date:2014-05-30 09:44 Author:admin

U.S. oil futures inched higher on Monday, as investors continued to monitor developments in the Ukraine-Russia conflict amid concerns over a disruption to supplies.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May held in a range between $99.06 a barrel and $99.63 a barrel.

Nymex oil last traded at $99.59 a barrel during European morning hours, up 0.13%, or 12 cents.

The May contract picked up 0.57%, or 56 cents, on Friday to settle at $99.46 a barrel. Futures were likely to find support at $98.25 a barrel, the low from March 21 and resistance at $100.25 a barrel, the high from March 21.

Investors continued to monitor events in Ukraine, where tension over moves by neighboring Russia in the Crimean region have underpinned prices.

Reuters reported on Monday that Russian troops were trying to seize a Ukrainian naval base in the disputed Crimea region.

The political standoff between the West and Russia following the annexation of Crimea escalated after the U.S. imposed harsher sanctions on Moscow. The European Union also agreed to wider sanctions against Russia.

Russia is the world's biggest energy producer.

Meanwhile, weaker than expected Chinese manufacturing data fuelled hopes Beijing will unveil fresh stimulus measures to combat slowing growth in the world's second largest oil consumer.

Data released earlier showed that China's HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country's industrial activity, fell to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February.

China is the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for May delivery dipped 0.24%, or 26 cents, to trade at $106.76 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $7.17 a barrel.