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Oil prices mixed in Asia before US holiday

SINGAPORE--Oil prices were mixed in muted Asian trade Monday ahead of a public holiday in the United States and as dealers digest downcast Chinese manufacturing data, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 14 cents to US$95.82 while Brent crude for October rose five cents to US$103.24 in afternoon trade.

“Oil prices are expected to trade within a lower range as dealers consolidate their positions with no new leads expected today,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore said.

Investors are also scrutinizing data released Monday showing Chinese manufacturing growth slowed in August, raising concerns about demand in the world's top energy consumer, Chua said.

The Ukrainian crisis is continuing to provide support to oil prices, with little sign of an imminent solution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday raised the stakes in the standoff by calling for the first time for statehood to be discussed for the eastern regions of Ukraine now controlled by pro-Kremlin rebels.

The West is threatening fresh sanctions against Russia, the world's number-two oil producer, for directly aiding the insurgency.

Putin has repeatedly denied Russia is fueling the conflict or putting any troops on the ground in the former Soviet state, a key conduit for Moscow's gas exports to Europe.

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