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Oil prices hold above USD102 a barrel

Friday, August 29 08:55:52

Brent crude held above $102 a barrel today, but prices were heading for a second monthly loss as ample supply and softening demand in Europe and China outweighed geopolitical concerns.

The European benchmark plunged over 12 percent from a nine-month high reached in June to a more than one-year low last week as bleak demand led to an oil supply glut in the Atlantic Basin.

Brent rose 32 cents to $102.78 a barrel by 0633 GMT and U.S. crude gained 22 cents to $94.77 a barrel, underpinned by U.S. data showing faster than initially thought second-quarter growth in the world's top economy.

However, oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic were on track for a more than 3 percent loss this month.

"I'm just surprised that we've seen such a big discount over the weeks," said Ben Le Brun, markets analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney. If supply tightens, "there's a chance that we're quite close to the bottom", he said.

West African crude exports to Asia were near record levels in September, a Reuters survey of traders showed, although the North Sea market remained well supplied.

Production from other regions, such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), also rose despite geopolitical tensions in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine.

OPEC, which supplies a third of the world's oil, raised its output in August from July, on higher supply from Libya, Angola and Iran, a Reuters survey found.

But analysts expect oil prices to draw some support if the situation in Ukraine worsens. (Reuters) For more visit www.businessworld.ie