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Oil prices extend losses, shrugging off better-than-expected US figures

LONDON -- Oil prices fell further on Thursday as concerns eased that fresh Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine would have an immediate impact on global crude supplies, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery slipped 70 cents to US$99.57 a barrel.

Brent crude for September was down 15 cents at US$106.36 in London midday trading.

WTI had fallen 70 cents in New York trade and Brent lost US$1.21 in London on Wednesday despite upbeat U.S. stockpiles and economic growth data.

Rosneft, Russia's state-held oil giant, is one of the targets of the sanctions, with a tightening of western exports of technology needed to explore and extract energy from remote Russian regions.

The firm said last week it is working on plans to minimize the impact of the sanctions.

The oil market has meanwhile mostly shrugged off better-than-expected official U.S. gross domestic product and stockpiles data.

The Department of Energy said crude-oil stockpiles fell 3.7 million barrels to 367.4 million in the week ended July 25, more than double what was expected.

Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at EY, said major declines in oil prices are not expected as “conflicts in Libya, Ukraine, Iraq and Israel continue to pose a risk of disruption in the supply of crude.”

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