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Oil prices down as Opec meeting awaited

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Oil prices fell slightly on world markets on Tuesday, with investors taking profits after consecutive rises in recent days.

[NEW YORK] Oil prices fell slightly on world markets on Tuesday, with investors taking profits after consecutive rises in recent days.

A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 25 US cents to US$42.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after having risen nearly a dollar and a half the day before.

In London, a barrel of North Sea Brent for October delivery fell 41 US cents to US$44.98 on the Intercontinental Exchange.

The slight declines followed Monday's announcement of an unscheduled meeting next month by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, fueling speculation of measures to stabilise prices.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak reportedly said his country would be willing to discuss a freeze if Opec raises the matter.

After a bearish July, prices rebounded in recent days, following stronger-than-expected US hiring figures and a general re-evaluation of the likelihood of a US interest rate hike.

"It's quiet today. I think you may see a bit of profit taking," said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

"This is a short-covering rally with record short interest in crude oil," Mr Kilduff said, adding that rumour of possible collaboration between Russia and Opec was also influencing market decisions.

AFP