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Oil rises above USD108 on Ukraine fears

Friday, March 14 15:23:05

Brent crude oil rose above $108 a barrel today as heightened tension in Ukraine ahead of a referendum in the Russian-majority region of Crimea raised worries over Russian oil supplies.

Russia shipped more troops and armour into Crimea on Friday and repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine, showing no sign of listening to Western pleas to back off from the worst confrontation since the Cold War.

The conflict has provided support for global oil markets as traders worry it could lead to a disruption of oil supplies from Russia, one of the world's biggest oil producers.

The rise in oil prices was tempered by weak data from China, where economic growth shows further signs of easing, curbing global oil demand growth.

"Poor economic data from China and the referendum (on joining Russia) in the Crimea on Sunday are ensuring continued high levels of risk aversion on the markets," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Brent crude oil was up $1.00 at $108.39 a barrel by 1440 GMT after settling 63 cents lower on Thursday.

U.S. crude was trading 90 cents higher at $99.10 a barrel, having closed 21 cents higher.