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Crude oil futures for November settled down 0.15%, falling below $103 a barrel, meaning the contract has made three weekly declines in a row.
With the United Nations Security Council on the cusp of voting on a resolution to deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons – a resolution that does not include the threat of automatic military action against Syria – the Syrian crisis is effectively off the table as a reason for any risk premium to be factored into the price of oil.
Prices rose coming into this month because of fears that a US strike could precipitate disruption of oil supplies from the Middle East, which accounts for more than a third of the global output of oil.
Taking its place in the concerns of market participants is the impasse in Washington with regard to sorting out a budget for the next fiscal year. If Congress is not able to agree on a deal before 1 October, federal employees may be put on unpaid temporary leave and pay for military personnel could be delayed.
That would be a big drag on consumer spending, and by extension, the economy as a whole. Consequently the looming shutdown is stifling risk demand across the board, including demand for oil.