October crude oil prices were flat to mostly lower during the initial morning hours, pressured in part by weakness in global equity markets and disappointing Chinese economic data over the weekend. Chinese factory output declined to its lowest level in more than three years and import activity came in weaker than expected. Additionally, estimates on Chinese August oil demand slipped to its lowest level in nearly two years. While this would seem to bolster the case for more spending projects by the PBOC, a surprise jump in August CPI, to a five month high, could delay further action. Some traders indicated losses in the crude oil market were probably limited by hopes that the US Fed will pursue more monetary stimulus at this week's meeting. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of September 4th showed non-commercial traders were net long 290,525 contracts, a decrease of 8,065. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net long position of 299,760 contracts, for a decrease of 1,462 in their net long positioning.
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