Oil slipped below $116 a barrel on Monday as investors remained focused on any potential action regarding Syria, as Russia and China again urged the United States to hold off from military action ahead of a key vote by the country.

Brent crude fell by 67 cents to $115.45, but has gained more than 1.5% in September, while US oil dropped by 45 cents to $110.08, reported news agency Reuters.

President Barack Obama is trying to persuade Senate lawmakers to approve military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on Wednesday.

However, Russia and Syria today urged against military action, while China has suggested a return to the United Nations to discuss Syria.

Obama will give a televised address to the nation on Tuesday to make the case for US intervention.

According to analysts, if the Senate vote against intervention oil prices will fall in the near term.

If they vote for intervention "they will take another leg up and there will be talk of a Strategic Reserve release or even of an immediate release by the US only in an attempt to discourage any knee jerk price rise," a PVM analyst, David Hufton, told Reuters.

Markets were also supported today by data which showed that China’s broad exports by rose more than expected in August, adding to evidence the world’s second-largest economy may have avoided a steep downturn.

Supplies continued to be pressured by crude oil still not coming out of Libya.

However, imports by China, the world’s largest buyer after the United States, hit a six-month low in August and were down 17.9% from July, trade data showed on Sunday.

Imports in August were still up 16.5% from a year ago.

Investors will now watch for any firm signs on whether the US Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its massive stimulus programme next week, Reuters reported.

Caption: President of Russia Vladimir Putin is urging the US not to intervene in Syria. Credit courtesy of Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

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