World oil prices stabilised today as investors continued to digest weak global data and awaited the start of the US Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting. 

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November firmed nine cents to $97.97 a barrel from yesterday's closing level. 

The October contract sank to a two-year intra-day low of $96.21 before its expiry yesterday, dented by weak data from top energy consumers the US and China. 

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October lost two cents to $92.90 a barrel. Brent was also pushed lower today by technical reasons as speculative traders sold off their positions ahead of last night's October contract expiry. 

US industrial production unexpectedly fell in August by 0.1%, after six months of gains, new figures showed yesterday. Manufacturing output meanwhile fell 0.4%.

That US data came after China reported over the weekend that growth in industrial production fell sharply to 6.9% in August, the slowest pace in over five years. 

Analysts said investors were also awaiting the highly anticipated two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee that begins today. 

They are concerned by the prospect the Fed will begin hiking interest rates sooner than expected, and will be scrutinising statements by the bank's chief Janet Yellen tomorrow evening. 

The Fed has previously said it would keep interest rates low for a "considerable time" after ending its massive stimulus programme, based on continued weakness in the labour market. Its once $85 billion-a-month bond buying programme is expected to be fully wound down by the end of October.