NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices dropped Monday as investors paid close attention to speeches from Federal Reserve officials for clues on monetary policies.
New York Fed President William Dudley on Monday defended the Fed's decision not to trim its massive asset purchases, saying that progress had been made but not strong enough to begin tapering.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart noted that there is some evidence that the U.S. economic dynamism is declining and losing its "economic mojo."
Last Friday, in an interview with Bloomberg, James Bullard, president of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said "no taper" was a close decision in the Fed's September meeting and a small reduction in Fed's monetary stimulus is possible in the October meeting.
The looming budget fight in Washington also weighed on the market. Washington faces two looming deadlines - one for funding the government in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1; the other for the debt limit, which the U.S. Treasury Department has said will need to be raised by mid-October.
The Republican-led House passed a stopgap spending bill last Friday to fund the government through to Dec. 15 at current funding levels. However, it also contains language to defund Obamacare.
On the economic front, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, a gauge of the U.S. overall economic activity, rose to 0.14 in August from minus 0.43 in July.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery decreased 1.16 U.S. dollars to 103.59 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, Brent crude for November delivery lost 1.06 dollars to 108.16 dollars a barrel.