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Oil Prices Slide As China's Manufacturing Slows

Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Monday after a survey found that growth in factory activity slipped sharply in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer.

Brent crude oil futures for October delivery fell 99 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $74.42 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for September settlement dropped 117 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $72.78 a barrel.

Data released Saturday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed China's official purchasing managers' index fell to 50.4 in July from 50.9 in June, adding to concerns about a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. It was the slowest figure since the index slumped to 35.7 in February 2020.

China's Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.3 last month from 51.3 in June, marking the lowest level in 15 months and prompting concerns about demand.

Elsewhere, manufacturing activity rose in export powerhouses Japan and South Korea, though firms suffered from supply chain disruptions and raw material shortages that pushed up costs.

The euro area manufacturing sector growth moderated in July but the pace of expansion remained elevated, final data from IHS Markit showed.

The final factory Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 62.8 from 63.4 in June. This was the lowest reading since March.

Meanwhile, Baker Hughes said in its weekly report that the number of rigs drilling natural gas in the U.S. fell by 1 to 103 rigs for the week to July 30.

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