Brent nears three-week high

11 0ctober 2012, Sweetcrude, LONDON – THE Brent crude oil stayed close on Wednesday to a three-week closing high of $114.50 seen a day earlier as worries over the security of Middle East supplies outweighed economic woes.

Weak risk sentiment coursed through financial markets, pulling down stock markets and boosting the dollar after the International Monetary Fund said a deepening eurozone debt crisis was threatening the global economy.

The IMF said in its biannual check of the world’s financial health that risks to global financial stability had risen in the past six months, leaving confidence “very fragile”.

But shelling along the Turkey-Syria border, hostility between Iran and the West, and an impending Israeli election, have raised worries over the risks to oil supplies from the Middle East Gulf, keeping a floor under prices.

Brent crude fell 25 cents a barrel to $114.25 by 1350 GMT, after hitting its highest level for three weeks earlier in the session. US crude fell 10 cents to $92.29 a barrel.

Brent November crude ended up $2.68 at $114.50 a barrel on Tuesday, its highest close since 18 September.

“It’s not that Syria and Turkey are significant oil exporters but Iraqi crude from the northern part of Iraq (Kirkuk) flows via pipeline thorough Turkey to Ceyhan,” said Dominick Chirichella, an energy analyst at New York’s Energy Management Institute.

“In addition if the Syrian civil war spreads further throughout the Middle East it is only going to result in another level of instability in a region that is very unstable and a region that exports the largest amount of oil to the consuming world countries,” Chirichella added.

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