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Oil fell for a second day as speculation that the Federal Reserve will announce additional measures to stimulate the economy declined after U.S. consumer confidence and business activity unexpectedly grew.
Prices dropped as much as 1.6 percent as a Bloomberg survey of economists showed the Fed will probably forgo a third round of large-scale asset purchases at a two-day meeting beginning today. Consumer confidence rose for the first time in five months in July and a barometer of business activity gained.
The Confidence Board’s confidence index increased to 65.9 this month from 62.7 in June, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Economists projected a reading of 61.5, according to the median estimate.
Business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly grew at a faster pace in July as the economy weathered a slowdown in hiring and household spending. A barometer from the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. increased to 53.7 from 52.9 in June. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.
Oil for September delivery fell 97 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $88.81 a barrel at 11:01 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have climbed 4.5 percent this month and have declined 10 percent this year. Earlier, futures touched $88.37.
Brent crude for September settlement declined 60 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $105.60 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
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