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Oil extends losses in Asian trade

AP PHOTO

SINGAPORE—Oil extended its losses in Asian trade Thursday on mounting concerns about an economic slowdown in China, with the strong US dollar also putting pressure on prices, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in September, was down 57 cents at $104.82 a barrel in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for September shed 36 cents to $106.83.

WTI dived $1.84 in New York Wednesday after HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers (PMI) index of Chinese manufacturing activity hit an 11-month low, signalling weaker demand in the world’s top energy consumer. Brent sank $1.23 in London.

“We are seeing a continuation of last night’s pullback in crude prices over the weak Chinese data,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

The sluggish reading in China overshadowed upbeat economic data in the eurozone, where private business activity returned to growth in July for the first time in 18 months.

Adding to the selling pressure was a pickup in the dollar, which makes oil more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies, denting demand.


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