The soft Chinese economic data initially hit oil prices with crude heading further south despite China’s oil imports rising to a record on a monthly basis.
That was driven by buying from small private refineries and low prices.
“The market is more focused on the general Chinese data and that is weighing on oil prices,” explained one analyst.
Brent fell 19 cents to 48.42 dollars a barrel on Monday morning – the lowest in more than six months – before edging back up to 49 dollars.
Oil has slumped more than 25 percent since this year’s peak in June amid signs the global surplus will be prolonged.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ largest members have sustained record output but media sources suggest that its members could hold an emergency meeting while it’s reported that Libya wants global oil supply reduced to lift prices.