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Oil prices kick off week with losses

Oil prices kick off week with lossesLONDON: Oil prices fell Monday after recent volatility as markets assess the outlook for US interest rates.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October dropped 55 cents to $ 45.50 a barrel compared with the close on Friday.

Brent North Sea crude for October was down 57 cents to $ 49.04 in London afternoon deals.

All eyes were on the US, the world’s biggest consumer of oil, as a decision on interest rates is set to influence financial markets whatever the outcome of the Fed’s policy meeting next week.

A rate hike would likely strengthen the greenback, making dollar-priced oil more expensive to holders of weaker currencies, hurting demand and prices.

Analysts said dealers are awaiting a slew of global economic data this week for clues about crude demand, with ample oil supplies boosted by relentless US and OPEC production.

The Chinese government is scheduled to release monthly trade and inflation figures, as well as industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales in the coming days.

Oil prices have fluctuated wildly in recent weeks on uncertainty about Fed monetary policy as well as worries about the growth in world number-one energy consumer China.

The eurozone’s second-quarter gross domestic product figures are due Tuesday.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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