Oil prices down as US, Russia break deadlock on Syria
Oil prices eased in Asian trade Friday after the United States and Russia agreed a draft UN Security Council resolution on destroying Syria's chemical arms, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, dipped 32 cents to $102.71 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for November was down 13 cents at $109.08.
The draft US-Russia resolution, seen by AFP, does not propose immediate measures over a chemical attack in Damascus one month ago. But it allows for possible sanctions -- after a new vote - if there are breaches of an armament plan.
The 15-member Security Council held its first talks on the text late Thursday and a vote could be held on Friday with several top ministers taking part, diplomats said.
Investors had earlier feared that a possible US-led strike on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemicals against its own people would spark a wider conflict in the crude-rich Middle East.
"The Syria risk is off the table with the UN agreeing on a resolution," Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore, told AFP.
Prices were unaffected by a rally on Wall Street that was fuelled by upbeat US jobs and housing data.
A thaw in ties between the West and Iran was also tempering prices.
A meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart on Thursday has raised hopes of an easing of Western sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme. Such a move would allow the oil-rich nation to export more freely.