10 September 2013, News Wires – Brent crude oil futures dropped to a one-week low below $113 per barrel on Tuesday as supply fears abated after Russia offered to help put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, calming fears of an imminent strike against the country.
Brent climbed to six-month peaks above $117 late last month on worries that a possible US-led military strike against Syria may disrupt oil supplies from the Middle East.
“We’re seeing a bit of the premium being erased from oil prices,” Reuters quoted OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun as saying in Sydney.
“It’s still possible the US could put a military attack on Syria but the chances of that don’t appear to be as strong as they were a week ago.”
Brent oil for October delivery was down 74 cents at $112.98 per barrel by Tuesday morning, after touching a session low of $112.75, its weakest since 2 September.
The crude benchmark fell 2.1% on Monday – its steepest single-day decline since 20 June.
US crude, also for delivery next month, fell as low as $108.21 per barrel, before cutting its losses to $108.71, down 81 cents. West Texas Intermediate oil hit a more than two-year high of $112.24 in late August.
US President Barack Obama said he saw a possible breakthrough in the crisis with Syria after Russia proposed that its ally Damascus hand over its chemical weapons for destruction, which could avert planned US military strikes.
But US officials and experts warned that any deal with Syria to hand over its chemical weapons in the middle of a chaotic civil war would be difficult for inspectors to enforce and destroying them would likely take years.
Still, a non-violent way to resolve the crisis would be the logical option, analysts said, because oil prices would spike sharply if the conflict spreads to oil-producing nations in the Middle East such as Iran and Iraq.
“If we remove the Syrian tensions, we’d probably see a Brent price under $110 a barrel, maybe even lower,” said Le Brun.
Obama is slated to address the American people on Tuesday night and is due to speak to lawmakers during the day.
The drop in oil prices came despite a recent spate of encouraging economic data out of China that suggested it can avoid a sharp slowdown, brightening the outlook for demand from the world’s number two oil consumer.
China’s exports rose more than forecast in August and inflation remained tame, according to government data released over the past two days. More Chinese data is due on Tuesday, including industrial output and retail sales numbers, also for last month.