Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and ended slightly lower on Monday, snapping a four-session winning streak.

Oil prices rose in early trades Monday on political tensions in North East Asia and violence in the Middle East, and on recent data showing a larger than expected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.

However, a lack of support at higher levels resulted in the contracts losing nearly 2% by noon. However, prices recovered swiftly, and after moving around the flat line thereafter, ended the session with a small gain.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $0.04 at $61.68 a barrel, after rising to a high of $62.34 earlier in the day.

On Friday, WTI Crude oil futures for February ended up $0.04 at $$61.72 a barrel, the highest settlement price in about 3-1/2 months.

Data released by the Energy Information Administration on Friday showed crude stockpiles in the U.S. declined by nearly 5.5 million barrels in the week ended December 20, more tha three times the expected drop.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a ruling party meeting, called for “positive and offensive measures” to ensure security ahead of a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearisation talks with the United States.

The U.S. military carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday against Iran-backed militia group, while Turkey announced its plan to send forces to Libya to assist Al-Seraj government.

Traders were looking ahead to China’s official manufacturing PMI, due on Tuesday.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com