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Oil Falls Toward $104 a Barrel as Syria Risk Fades

Updated: Monday, September 23 2013, 09:52 AM EDT

The price of oil slipped closer to $104 a barrel Monday despite positive economic news out of China and Europe, as the risk premium associated with the Syrian crisis diminished.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for November delivery was down 34 cents to $104.41 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the now expired contract for October delivery dropped $1.72 to close at $104.67.

Analysts said the apparent progress being made in the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons, a seeming thaw in relations between Iran and Western powers and the return to markets of crude from Libya and South Sudan were weighing on prices.

"The risk premium ... continues to come off as tensions in the Middle East subside," analysts at Sucden Financial Research in London said in a report.

Concerns about a possible shutdown of the U.S. government if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by Oct.1 offset positive data from China showing growth in manufacturing and a survey suggesting that the economic recovery across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is picking up.

Last week, oil dropped $3.54, or 3.3 percent. There was a midweek blip on Wednesday when prices shot up 2.5 percent following the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to keep its economic stimulus policy in place.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes used by many U.S. refineries, was down 60 cents to $108.62 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

- Wholesale gasoline fell 0.91 cent to $2.6583 per gallon.

- Natural gas lost 4.8 cents to $3.639 per 1,000 cubic feet.

- Heating oil retreated 0.44 cent to $3.0009 per gallon.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Oil Falls Toward $104 a Barrel as Syria Risk Fades


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 
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