Brent steadies under $110
Singapore, August 16, 2013
Brent crude steadied under $110 a barrel on Friday and remained on track for a weekly rise as unrest in Egypt stoked supply fears, but worries the Federal Reserve could soon trim its commodity-friendly stimulus curbed gains.
Fears that violence in Egypt could affect the Suez Canal -through which a major portion of the world's oil is shipped - or spread across the Middle East, where supplies already face disruptions, drove Brent to a four-month high on Thursday.
Brent crude futures for October delivery were up 7 cents at $109.67 a barrel by 0359 GMT, nicely positioned for a weekly rise of over 1 percent.
US crude oil futures for September climbed 12 cents to $107.45.
"The unrest in Egypt is definitely having an impact and putting a floor on prices," said Ben Le Brun, an analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.
The strategically important Suez Canal and Egyptian ports were operating normally, shipping sources said on Thursday.
Although Egypt is not an oil producer, investors were wary that unrest could spread around the region, with supply disruptions already affecting Iraq and Libya.
Iraq is still undecided whether to carry out full maintenance on its Basra oil export terminals in September, four oil officials said.
And Libya has restarted refined-product exports from its largest refinery, Ras Lanuf, but most crude oil terminals including Es Sider, the biggest, remain blocked by protests, with exports still running at less than half normal levels.
Strikes at Libya's largest ports have pushed oil production and exports, the lifeblood of the north African country's economy, to their lowest levels since the civil war that ousted veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
"The Libyan government's warning that it will use military force to prevent striking security guards from selling oil independently, suggests the situation could easily escalate further," ANZ analysts wrote in a note on Friday. - Reuters