Brent crude held below $109 a barrel on Monday in seesaw trading after data showed a slowdown in China's economic growth and weaker-than-expected retail sales in top oil consumer the United States.

Sharp declines that followed the release of the U.S. data were pared as it appeared to delay the Federal Reserve's plan to roll back its economic stimulus programme, known as quantitative easing (QE).

"We keep getting bad data out which negates the idea QE will end, and that is why prices are not falling too drastically," said Rob Montefusco, analyst at Sucden Financial.

Brent crude front-month was down 2 cents at $108.79 a barrel by 1400 GMT after earlier falling below $108 a barrel. The August contract expires on Tuesday.

U.S. oil was down 1 cent at $105.94 a barrel after sliding below $105 a barrel immediately after the data came out.

China's annual GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the ninth quarter in the last 10 that the rate has fallen, official data showed.

Initially, the data was greeted with relief as the figures were within expectations and dispelled fears of an even steeper slowdown, but trade later turned negative.

"Markets are relieved that the data is not worse, but it is certainly not great. Even though the GDP and retail data were in line, manufacturing activity is weak," Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets in London, said.

In the United States, data showed retail sales rose less than expected in June, adding to signs of a slowdown in economic growth.

"We had a bullish run in recent weeks, but there isn't much to keep it going. Tensions in Egypt are easing off, and the economic news is not inspiring," said Simon Wardell, an analyst at Global Insight.

The U.S. dollar strengthened, which further weighed on oil by making it more expensive for traders in different currencies, Wardell said.

In other data, China's implied oil demand in June rose to the highest daily level since February as refineries returned from maintenance, but analysts expected annual growth to ultimately be flat on the previous year.

Chinese industrial output rose less than expected in June from a year earlier.

Political concerns in the Middle East offered limited support. Brent has held above $100 for most of 2012 and 2013 due in part to tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Iran was getting closer to the "red line" he set for its nuclear programme. Investors are also watching the regime change in Egypt.