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Crude oil drops on business data

Oct. 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices dropped sharply to near $88 per barrel Wednesday as key business indexes showed activity slowing in China's and Europe's service sectors.

The Purchasing Manager's Index for services in China dropped to 53.7 in September, a decline from August's 56.3 reading.

In Europe, the service sector PMI came to 46.1 in September, a small improvement from August, but still showing contraction, as numbers below 50 indicate business activity slowing down.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for November delivery shed $3.72 to $88.04 per gallon. Natural gas prices shed 0.085 cents to $3.424 per million British thermal units. Home heating oil shed 0.0725 cents to $3.07 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline lost 0.429 cents to $2.8263 per gallon.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.782 per gallon, up from Tuesday's $3.78, AAA reported.

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