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Oil falls toward $93 as China tightens lending

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil fell Monday amid growing worries that China's decision to clamp down on informal lending could hamper growth in a major energy consuming country.

Benchmark oil for August delivery was down 36 cents to $93.33 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.71 to close at $93.69 on Friday.

Signs of an economic slowdown are already visible in the world's No. 2 economy. Last week, a private survey showed manufacturing in China contracted at a faster pace in June to a nine-month low. Moreover, Chinese economic growth slowed unexpectedly in the first quarter to 7.7 percent and forecasters have cut their growth outlook for the year. Asian stock markets fell, and oil prices moved along with them.

"Weaker growth and funding concerns in China added another layer of uncertainty to the market psyche," analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a commentary.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, was down 19 cents to $100.72.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was nearly unchanged at $2.746 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 0.4 cent to $2.847 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.8 cent to $3.779 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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