World oil prices drop

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LONDON: Oil prices fell on Monday after US President Barack Obama said he would seek approval from lawmakers for military action against Syria, easing prospects of an imminent strike, analysts said. Losses were capped by news of upbeat economic data in China, which is the world’s biggest consumer of energy.  New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October, shed 41 cents to $107.24 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude oil for October dropped 44 cents to $114.45 a barrel.

US markets will be closed on Monday for the Labour Day federal holiday, but electronic oil trading will continue.

“Investors are sitting back for now after President Obama’s decision to take the decision on a Syrian intervention to US lawmakers,” analyst Desmond Chua at trading group CMC Markets told AFP.

After the announcement on Saturday, Obama launched an intense lobbying effort to sway sceptical lawmakers as they weigh whether to support military action against Syria for its alleged chemical weapon use, an official said Sunday.

Although Syria is not a major oil producer, traders are nervous about a broader conflict in the crude-rich Middle East region, including neighbouring Iraq.

Obama’s surprise decision to hand the issue to the Congress effectively pushes military action back until at least September 9, when US lawmakers return from their summer recess.