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Oil hovers below $107 as tensions over Syria ease

PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) — Oil prices fell further Tuesday as President Barack Obama's struggle to win support for U.S. military intervention in Syria diminished expectations of an attack.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was down 95 cents to $106.70 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.15 to close at $107.65 on Friday.

Obama on Monday met with key U.S. lawmakers to try to drum up support for military strikes against the regime of President Bashar Assad to respond to an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says killed at least 1,429 civilians. A vote could come once Congress returns from its summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept. 9.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in recent days. Conversely, prices have slid as the prospect of a U.S. attack diminished.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, was down 12 cents to $114.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

"The upside to Brent oil prices has been tempered somewhat by the diminished expectation of a US military strike, though they haven't fallen as much as US prices which have slid back much more sharply," Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a commentary.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 1.2 cents to $2.878 per gallon.

— Heating oil was nearly unchanged at $3.137 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 8 cents to $3.661 per 1,000 cubic feet.

 

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