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Oil prices up in Asia on Middle East concerns

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Tuesday, fuelled by growing concern over the Syrian conflict and political unrest in Turkey, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, gained five cents to $97.82 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for August delivery added three cents to $105.50.

"It's the Syrian war," said Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore. "Oil is always very sensitive to any type of crisis or potential crisis."

Syria on Monday dominated the start of the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland amid fears of a broader Middle East conflict.

Prices jumped last week after US officials said they had evidence of the use of chemical weapons by forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and signalled that Washington could begin arming the opposition.

David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said traders were also keeping an eye on the US Federal Reserve meeting that ends Wednesday to see what its plans are for its stimulus programme, known as quantitative easing.

"The feeling is that there will be no scaleback in quantitative easing, and that the Federal Reserve will continue to support growth. This is keeping markets buoyant," Lennox told AFP.

He also cited concern over events in Turkey, which warned on Monday that it may bring in the army to help quell nearly three weeks of nationwide anti-government protests.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130618/oil-prices-asia-middle-east-concerns