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Oil prices down in Asia following weak data from China and Europe

SINGAPORE -- Oil prices fell in Asia Tuesday following disappointing manufacturing data out of top energy consumer China as well as Europe and as dealers await fresh U.S. economic figures, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery eased 21 cents to US$95.75 while Brent crude for October was down three cents to US$102.76 in afternoon trade.

China on Monday said its official purchasing managers' index (PMI) of manufacturing activity slipped to 51.1 last month. That is down from 51.7 in July — a more than two-year high — and the first decline since February.

In Europe, Markit's PMI of output in the 18-nation eurozone's manufacturing sector fell to 50.7 in August from 51.8 in July.

Investors are awaiting the U.S. Institute for Supply Management's August PMI for the U.S. manufacturing sector later Tuesday. Credit Agricole said the figure “likely edged down to 56.2,” from 57.1 in July. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Labor Day public holiday.

Latest U.S. construction spending data, another key indicator of the health of the world's biggest economy, is also set for release on Tuesday.

Simmering insurgencies in major crude producers Libya and Iraq, as well as in Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian gas exports to Europe, continue to provide support to oil prices, analysts said.

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