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Oil dips below USD110 on growth fears

Monday, September 24 11:53:59

Brent crude oil fell below $110 a barrel today, dragged down by a firm dollar and worries over weak global economic growth after disappointing German data.

Initial enthusiasm has faded over planned economic stimulus measures and steps by central banks in the United States, Europe and Japan to boost asset markets as data has shown growth rates still slow and consumer confidence ebbing.

German business sentiment dropped for the fifth successive month in September, Munich-based think tank Ifo said, a sign companies are being hit by the euro zone debt crisis which is squeezing demand and investment.

Front-month Brent crude futures fell $2 a barrel to a low of $109.42, before recovering slightly to trade around $109.75 by 0910 GMT. U.S. crude was $1.30 lower at $91.59 per barrel.

Brent dropped 4.5 percent last week, while U.S. crude lost 6.2 percent on demand worries and a pledge by Saudi Arabia to supply enough oil to the market to keep prices down.

"Slowing economic growth is the major concern for oil markets," said Olivier Jakob, energy consultant at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

The Ifo business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 firms, fell to 101.4 in September from 102.3 in August, defying expectations for a slight rise. A Reuters poll of 45 economists had forecast a slight increase to 102.5.

"September's fall in the German Ifo business survey is a reminder that even the euro-zone's strongest economies are suffering from a serious economic downturn," said Jennifer McKeown, economist at Capital Economics. (C ) Reuters