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MENAFN - AFP - 11/10/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Global oil prices climbed Thursday on the back of geopolitical jitters surrounding Syria, while traders awaited the latest weekly snapshot of crude inventories in the United States.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November gained 91 cents to 115.24 a barrel in midday trade in London, lifted also by supply delays following regular maintenance in the North Sea, dealers said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for November, added 85 cents to 92.10 a barrel.

"Brent is continuing to profit from the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and from the delays in the resumption of North Sea production," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Crude oil prices briefly hit three-week peaks on Wednesday thanks to supply concerns linked to simmering tensions in the crude-rich Middle East, but the market finished the day in the red on global demand worries.

Geopolitics moved back into focus on Thursday as Damascus accused Ankara of "hostile" behaviour over a Syrian Air plane after it was intercepted by Turkish authorities en route from Moscow to Damascus and forced to land in Turkey.

The interception of the plane on Wednesday was "hostile and reprehensible behaviour" and "another sign of the hostile policies of the Erdogan government, which harbours (rebels) and bombs Syrian territory," the foreign ministry said, referring to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The ministry also demanded that Turkey return cargo seized from the Syrian Air jet.

Oil had already rallied by about 3 on Tuesday on heightened concerns that the Syrian conflict could spread to Turkey after border skirmishes over the past week.

However, market sentiment was dampened by a raft of economic growth forecast downgrades from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Later on Thursday, traders were to digest the latest snapshot of oil inventories from the United States' Department of Energy for the week ending October 5.

The report was being published one day later than usual owing to a US public holiday last Monday.

Market expectations were for a 600,000-barrel increase in US crude oil stocks, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Gasoline or petrol stockpiles were expected to have fallen by 400,000 barrels.


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