SINGAPORE,Â Aug 15, 2013Â (AFP)
Oil prices rose in Asian tradeÂ ThursdayÂ onÂ concerns that escalating violence in Egypt will disrupt supplies from theÂ Middle East, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery inÂ September, was up 32 cents at $107.17 a barrel in mid-morning trade, and BrentÂ North Sea crude for September gained 39 cents to $110.59.
“Developments in Egypt are on centre stage again and will continue to applyÂ upward pressure on oil prices,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-PacificÂ Oil and Gas Practice at consultancy EY, formerly Ernst and Young.
Egyptian security forces stormed the Cairo protest camps of ousted IslamistÂ president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in an assaultÂ WednesdayÂ that officialsÂ said led to almost 280 deaths across the country.
In response to the violence, the army-backed interim government imposed aÂ month-long nationwide state of emergency and curfews in Cairo and 13 otherÂ provinces.
Traders fear the bloody unrest in Egypt could hit crude shipments throughÂ the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline, which provide a link between Europe andÂ Asia and allows ships safer and faster travel between the regions withoutÂ having to sail around Africa.
While Egypt is not a major oil producer, the Suez canal carries about 2.5Â million barrels daily, roughly equal to eight percent of the output of cartelÂ OPEC.
Prices also gained support from a decline in US crude stockpiles,Â indicating firmer demand in the world’s largest economy.
The US Energy Information’s weekly commercial petroleum inventories reportÂ showed crude stockpiles declined 2.8 million barrels, more than the drop ofÂ 1.5 million barrels expected by Dow Jones Newswires.
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