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Oil holds at USD108 on Ukraine hopes

Thursday, March 06 16:01:13

Brent crude was only slightly up at just below $108 a barrel today as traders bet that the latest moves in the Crimea would not lead to a sharper escalation of the crisis.

Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia and the United States announced asset freezes and travel bans on those involved in Russia's military intervention.

Brent oil has fallen $4 since hitting a two-month high on Monday when fears of an armed conflict peaked.

"There's no strong appetite to go head to head with Russia. If we look at the EU or even the U.S., it's more likely they'll stick with softer sanctions for now than something serious," said Olivier Jakob, an oil analyst at Petromatrix in Switzerland.

Brent was up 10 cents at $107.86 at 1525 GMT, after settling $1.54 lower. The contract hit $112.39 on Monday, its highest since Dec. 30.

U.S. crude was 7 cents lower at $100.38, after dropping $1.88 in the previous session.