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Brent holds above $111 as players watch Syria - Yahoo!

India Finance

Thu 12 Sep, 2013, 6:27 PM IST - India Markets closed

Brent holds above $111 as players watch Syria

Reuters 4 hours ago

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12/Sep/2013 6:30 PM

Brent holds above $111 as players watch Syria - Yahoo! India Finance

By Yuka Obayashi TOKYO (Reuters) - Brent crude futures stayed above $111 a barrel on Thursday as investors waited to see whether diplomatic efforts to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons would avert the threat of U.S. military action that could lead to a disruption of oil supplies. Diplomatic efforts to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control intensified on Wednesday, while U.N. rights investigators detailed what they called war crimes carried out largely by Syrian government forces in the civil war. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to meet later on Thursday in Geneva to talk about Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. "Traders are reluctant to change their positions as the outlook for Syria's problem remain uncertain," said Koichi Murakami, an analyst at Daiichi Commodities Co Ltd. "Everyone is closely watching how Syria's situation will develop." Brent crude for October was trading up 2 cents at $111.52 a barrel by 0647 GMT, after gaining 25 cents the previous day. Brent hit a six-month high of $117.34 a barrel on August 28, largely on the tensions over Syria. U.S. crude was 2 cents lower at $107.54. But with many of the factors that pushed oil prices higher now out the market, industry players said it looked tough for the futures contracts to move higher. "If you take into consideration the end of (summer) drive time, the dead hurricane season and softening tensions in Syria, oil at this level is too expensive," said Jonathan Barratt, Chief Investment Officer at Ayers Alliance in Sydney. Gasoline stocks rose unexpectedly last week, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday, indicating that demand supported by the summer driving season had ended. (EIA/S) In addition, several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said at an industry event in Seoul that the oil market is well balanced and there is no need to pump more for now. Graphic-U.S. crude analysis: Graphic-Brent analysis: ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> EYES ON FED Expectations are growing that the U.S. central bank will decide next week to begin tapering its monetary stimulus, although last Friday's disappointing U.S. jobs data has convinced many economists that any reduction might be smaller than some had believed. (MKTS/GLOB) Still, any cut in the Federal Reserve's bond-buying programme would likely boost the dollar and pressure oil and other commodities priced in the greenback. The dollar dropped to two-week lows against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, as markets continued to chip away at its recent gains on growing doubts the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus in any significant way next week. (FRX/) (Additional reporting by James Topham; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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12/Sep/2013 6:30 PM