Oil inches up as US reserve release plan faces opposition


SINGAPORE: U.S. crude inched up in early Asian trading on Monday after the White House's plans to release emergency oil reserves to dampen rising gasoline prices in the country was opposed by its Asian allies as well as the head of the International Energy Agency.

U.S. crude edged 18 cents higher to $96.19 a barrel by 2330 GMT, after scaling a threemonth high last week. Brent rose 35 cents to $114.06.

FUNDAMENTALS

* President Barack Obama faced stiff resistance to the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves to quell rising energy prices on Friday, with Asian allies and the head of the West's energy agency rejecting any need for action now.

* U.S. crude oil demand fell to its lowest in nearly four years in July, dropping 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 18.062 million barrels per day, the lowest since September 2008, the American Petroleum Institute said on Friday.

* The United Nations on Friday confirmed that veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi would become the new international mediator on Syria, as the 17monthold conflict slid deeper into civil war and refugees fled to Turkey in increasing numbers.

* Trade volumes for the euro zone rose in the first half of the year, the EU statistics office said on Friday, underlining the area's dependence on external sources of growth as economic activity within the zone stagnates.

MARKETS NEWS

* The euro lost ground against the U.S. dollar and held even against the yen on Friday as investors curbed their recent enthusiasm for the single currency ahead of upcoming events that could test their appetite for risk.

* The S&P 500 held near a fouryear high on Friday, and the market's key gauge of anxiety sank to its lowest since 2007, suggesting a belief that the problems stressing investors might be closer to a resolution. - AFP

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