Brent holds steady above $108
Singapore, September 20, 2013
Brent crude prices held steady above $108 a barrel on Friday, set for the biggest weekly decline in three months on the return of some Libyan oil output, although supply concerns remained in focus as geopolitical tensions simmered in the Middle East.
The UN Security Council is expected to decide next week on how it will enforce a US-Russian plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons. The United States and Iran may also meet next week to discuss Tehran's nuclear programme.
Brent crude for November delivery had slipped 11 cents to $108.65 a barrel by 0514 GMT, on track for its steepest weekly decline since mid-June.
US crude for October delivery dropped 30 cents to$106.09 a barrel. The contract, which expires later in the day, is down almost 2 percent this week.
"The big driver of oil markets in the last day or two has been news that Libya has restored some production capacity," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "Also, the immediate Syrian risk has been unwound."
Libya's crude oil production has recovered to 620,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with its pre-war capacity of 1.6 million bpd, as major western fields ramped up output after protesters agreed to reopen them. Output had collapsed to below 200,000 bpd in a stalemate between protesters and the government that lasted more than a month.
"Supply tightness seems to be easing but Libya's export recovery is not something that's being assured," said Barclays analyst Sijin Cheng.
Elsewhere, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sent signals that he is looking for a thaw in relations with the United States, and the White House said leaders from both countries may meet next week. Western sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme have sharply reduced Tehran's oil revenues.
Fears of an imminent US-led military strike on Syria abated this month after Russia and the United States struck a deal to remove chemical weapons from the war-torn country, although it was still uncertain how the plan would be carried out.
"The risk associated with Syria and Iran will remain and will continue to add a risk premium to oil markets," Spooner said. - Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Two Europeans not on board 'missing' Malaysian jet
- China draws red line on North Korea
- Saudi sentences three to death for 2003 bombing
- First bitcoin machine opens in UK
- US sanctions will boomerang, warns Russia
- China plans $50bn bank to fund projects
- Sony to sell Tokyo 'birthplace'
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader
- Onus on world powers for Syria war crimes: UN
- US, Russia set for talks on Ukraine crisis
- Brent oil drops below $109
- Services outshine manufacturing, pushing up jobs
- Bitcoin bank shut down after hacker attack
- India to kick off world's biggest poll on April 7
- China signals focus on reforms
- Hundreds ready for bitcoin exchange class action
- Space taxi, Jupiter mission in Obama budget
- Putin: Use of force last resort in Ukraine
- Powers to boost Lebanese military, economy
- Egypt bans Hamas activities in Egypt
- Putin ends army exercise, markets rally
- Russia has violated international law: Obama
- Russian markets hit as Putin tightens grip on Crimea
- Iran nuclear deal 'being implemented as planned'
- Global factory growth stumbles as demand falters
- Obama warns of 'fallout' for Israel if peace effort fails