Oil prices slide from Syria-fuelled highs

9th September 2013, Comments 0 comments

Oil prices fell far from recent 28-month highs on Monday as weak US jobs data helped to offset fears of Middle East supply disruptions caused by a possible US-led military strike against Syria.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October shed $2.05 to stand at $114.07 a barrel in late London deals.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for October, fell 96 cents at $109.57 a barrel.

"Last Friday's weaker than expected US labour market data have been weighing (on prices)... as have the Chinese commodity import figures published over the weekend, which show that China imported considerably less crude oil in August than in the previous month," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

The United States is the world's biggest consumer of oil, while China uses the most energy, including crude.

The US economy added 169,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department reported on Friday, fewer than the 177,000 expected by analysts.

The same day, WTI oil hit a 28-month high in New York trade owing to tensions between the US and Russia over a potential military strike against the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.

The New York benchmark had shot up to $110.53 a barrel, the highest level since May 2011.

Washington deepened its diplomatic offensive at home and abroad at the weekend as President Barack Obama braced for a key week in his push to persuade sceptical Americans to back strikes.

"Geopolitical developments in Syria will be closely followed" by markets, Singapore's United Overseas Bank said in a note to clients on Monday.

The "key political event" investors will be watching is Obama's "bid to win congressional authorisation for a military strike on Syria", it said.

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© 2013 AFP

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