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Crude oil futures end marginally lower on Thursday

Crude oil futures ended marginally lower on Thursday, amid tempered expectations of lost Iranian supply even and fears that China - the second-largest economy and a big oil importer - may be signaling waning demand for oil. China's crude imports were lower in 2018 on account of waning appetite from the country's smaller independent, so-called teapot, refineries. Overall, investors wrestled with evidence of waxing inventories and waning demand, against geopolitical tensions that had threatened to push crude prices to new heights. Besides, Iran remained in focus following the US this week reimposed mostly financial sanctions on the nation. The renewed sanctions will not directly target Iranian oil until November, although Trump has reupped his call for as many countries as possible to cut their imports of Iranian crude to zero.

Benchmark crude oil futures for September declined 13 cents or 0.2 percent to settle at $66.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. October Brent crude lost 21 cents or 0.3 percent at $$72.07 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

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