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US oil ends lower as shutdown saga hits prices

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Crude oil was flat to weaker on Thursday, with U.S. oil ending modestly lower as concerns about the economic impact of a U.S. government shutdown offset constructive data and dollar weakness.

Activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in six months in September as demand grew, cementing a modest pick-up in the world's second-largest economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. services sector grew at a slower pace last month, ISM data showed.

Brent crude lost 40 cents to trade under $109. U.S. crude settled down 79 cents at $103.31.

However, uncertainty on the United States budget and the possibility that it could dent demand kept prices in check.

President Barack Obama met with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress on Wednesday to try to break a budget deadlock that has shut wide swaths of the federal government, but after more than an hour of talks no breakthrough emerged.The uncertainty about the budget reassured investors that the Federal Reserve would not end its money printing any time soon which hit the dollar.

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