LONDON, Aug 19, 2013 (AFP)
Oil prices on Monday gave up some of the gains won on concerns that the unrest in Egypt could spread across the Middle East and block supplies.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October was up four cents at $110.44 a barrel in London midday deals, down on gains won in recent days.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for September fell 39 cents to $107.07 a barrel.
“There is still some concern about supplies passing through the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline” amid the violence in Egypt and despite a weaker tone on markets, said Desmond Chua, a market analyst at traders CMC Markets.
“Oil prices remain supported by the situation in Egypt with fears that it could spread across the Middle East,” he told AFP.
Although Egypt is not a major oil producer, traders are worried that the unrest could hit crude shipments through the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline, which provide a link between Europe and oil producers in the Gulf.
The canal carries about 2.5 million barrels daily, or 2.7 percent of global supply.
Militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at two buses packed with Egyptian policemen in Sinai on Monday, killing 24 in the deadliest attack of its kind in years, medical and security sources said.
The violence comes as Egypt wrestles with a deep political crisis and bloodshed that has left hundreds of people dead in days of clashes between Islamist protesters and security forces.
Meanwhile oil Investors were exercising caution also ahead of minutes of a July meeting of the US central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee.
The minutes, due for publication on Wednesday, are expected to provide clues as to the scale and timing of the withdrawal of the Fed’s massive monetary stimulus measures.
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