NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil tumbled more than $2 on Thursday, going below $98 a barrel, hitting the lowest level since March on news of a potentially lengthy shutdown at a Kansas oil refinery, while Brent also slipped amid signs of robust OPEC oil production.
CVR Refining said its 115,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas might be shut for as long as four weeks after a fire in a gasoline-related unit on Tuesday. The refinery is a major consumer of benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude.
U.S. equity markets slid alongside crude, with the Dow and the S&P 500 posting their first monthly decline since January, while the Nasdaq fell for a third month in the last five.
The S&P 500 posted its worst daily decline since April and first monthly drop since January on Thursday as economic data sparked concern that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than some have expected.
Earlier, prices fell after a Reuters survey showed OPEC pumped more oil in July, further tempering concerns that unrest in North Africa and the Middle East could hurt global oil supplies.
Brent crude for September delivery settled down 49 cents at $106.02 a barrel. Brent has fallen more than 6 percent in July, on track for its biggest monthly decline since April 2013.
U.S. crude futures for September delivery dropped $2.10 to settle at $98.17 a barrel. The contract hit an intraday low of $97.95, its lowest since mid-March. U.S. crude is on course for a monthly drop of nearly 7 percent, its biggest since May 2012.
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