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Oil extends losses as Syria strike fears ease

imageSINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asian trade Friday as fears eased of an imminent Western military strike against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October, was down $1.41 at $107.39 a barrel in mid-morning trade, and Brent North Sea crude for October shed $1.26 to $113.90.

Anticipation of a Western operation against Syria had driven the WTI contract to its highest level since May 2011 this week, while Brent also soared to its highest price in six months.

Although Syria is not a major oil producer, traders are nervous about a broader conflict in the crude-rich Middle East region, including neighbouring Iraq, which is becoming a major exporter.

"The fact of the matter is nothing has happened thus far with regards to Syria, and that has calmed the crude markets," David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told AFP.

"WTI prices have also scaled down after latest figures showed a rise in US crude stockpiles, signalling the end of the busy driving season," he said.

US plans to build an international coalition for a "limited" strike on Syria suffered a blow when the British Parliament on Thursday voted against the use of force.

The White House signalled that President Barack Obama would take unilateral action if necessary.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013


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