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Tue 2 Aug 2011 08:44 AM

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Oil slips on bearish demand prospects

Slowdown in global manufacturing activity overshadows US approval of a debt deal

Oil slips on bearish demand prospects
oil refinery, oil plant, gas plant, oil and gas refinery, energy, petrochemicals plant

Oil slipped on Tuesday as bearish demand prospects prompted by a slowdown in global manufacturing activity overshadowed the approval of a debt deal by the House of Representatives to avert a default by top crude consumer the United States.

Brent shed 30 cents to $116.51 a barrel by 0405 GMT. US crude dipped 9 cents to $94.80 after trading as low as $93.42 on Monday, its lowest since late June, on news that the world's manufacturing expanded at its weakest pace in two years last month.

In Washington, the focus now turns to the Senate, where the $2.1 trillion deficit-cutting plan is expected to be approved in a vote on Tuesday, the deadline to lift the debt limit.

"The market is going to be thinking about the fundamental side of the economy, as well as what is going on in Washington, so it should be volatile," in coming days, said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

The debt plan "is cutting back on the fiscal stimulus, but there is still enough ammunition for the Fed to keep growth going for the remainder of the year," he added.

Earlier, US crude rebounded from a one-month low after the House passed the budget deal, restoring some optimism to markets battered by the disappointing economic data.

The US Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report, a gauge of factory activity in the world's largest economy, fell to 50.9 in July, its lowest since July 2009.

Brent crude edged higher on Monday as North Sea oilfield maintenance and violence in the Middle East offset the weaker global factory data.

BP said the North Sea Forties Pipeline System would be closed for five days this week to allow workers to remove an unexploded mine from World War II discovered in water near the pipeline.

France's Total shut its North Sea Elgin platform, which pumps 104,000 barrels per day of condensate, for summer maintenance, the company said, without disclosing the duration.

US crude oil inventories probably rose by 1.2 million barrels last week as increased supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve offset losses due to Tropical Storm Don, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Gasoline stockpiles were projected unchanged for the week, the poll showed, while distillate stocks were expected to have risen 1.5 million barrels.

Industry data on inventories from the American Petroleum Institute (API) will be published on Tuesday, followed by government statistics from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Emily formed near the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles islands on Monday, far from oil and gas-production facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico.

In other markets, Asian shares fell on Tuesday on concerns about the health of the global economy, while a strengthening yen prompted speculation that Tokyo may intervene in the markets to curb the currency's value.

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