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Oil falls on weak Chinese manufacturing

BANGKOK -- Oil prices fell Monday after weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from China intensified concerns about the global economy.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 17 cents at US$96.30 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$1.85 to finish at US$96.47 per barrel Friday in New York.

Brent crude for October delivery was up 12 cents to US$114.69 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

A report released Saturday by the state-authorized China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers' index, a measure of manufacturing activity, fell to 49.2 in August from July's 50.1. Numbers below 50 indicate activity is contracting.

That was a nine-month low, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who said in a market commentary that investors need to be prepared for worsening data about Chinese inflation, industrial production, retail sales and trade.

Weak economic growth tends to lead to lower fuel consumption and energy prices often fall as a result.

In other energy futures trading, heating oil fell marginally to US$3.18 a gallon while wholesale gasoline was unchanged at US$2.97 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to US$2.79 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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