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FTSE down as energy shares fall



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(Close): Falling oil prices and weak economic data from China combined to push the market down sharply.

The FTSE 100 was down 161.07 points, or 2.49%, at 6,300.63. Oil-related stocks saw big falls after Brent dipped below $63 a barrel while the price of US crude remained below $60.

Oilfield services firm Petrofac fell 6.35%, while oil giants BP and Shell were both down heavily.

Disappointing industrial production data from China hit mining shares.

Factory output in China in November was up 7.2% from a year earlier, but this was down from a rate of 7.7% in October.

China is the world's largest importer of raw materials so the health of the economy has a big impact on commodity-related stocks. Among the mining firms, Anglo American fell 3.15% and BHP Billiton dropped 2.65%.

Utility companies were among the few risers on the market after industry regulator Ofwat set out price limits for the sector for the next five years.

Ofwat said prices in England and Wales would fall by 5% on average, excluding inflation, by 2020.

On the currency markets, the pound slipped 0.04% against the dollar to $1.5724, and fell 0.59% against the euro to €1.26010.