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Oil prices fall after recent spikes

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices fell on Thursday after spiking in recent days on concern about Middle East supplies after Egypt's army overthrew and detained president Mohamed Morsi.

Investors are closely watching whether the latest unrest would escalate and affect stability in the oil-rich and politically volatile Middle East region which neighbour north African nation Egypt.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August dropped 69 cents to stand at $105.07 a barrel approaching midday in London.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for August, fell 48 cents to $100.76 a barrel. On Wednesday, the contract had hit a 14-month high point at $102.18.

"The gains from previous days have scaled down as the crude market seems to have priced in the transfer of power from the civil to transitional government in Egypt," David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets told AFP.

"What the market will be closely watching out for now is the reaction from those previously in government, and whether that would escalate the situation," said the Sydney-based analyst.

The Egyptian army on Wednesday toppled Islamist president Morsi after a week of unrest that killed nearly 50 people as millions took to the streets to demand an end to his turbulent year of rule.

In a televised address, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -- who was the defence minister in Morsi's government -- said the country's Islamist-drafted constitution had been suspended, while top judicial official Adly Mansour was interim president.

Sisi also announced early presidential elections, but did not specify when they would be held.

While not a major crude exporter, Egypt is home to key oil choke points such as the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline.

Analyst Lennox added that prices were not likely to rise significantly from current levels unless the political unrest spreads to other countries in the region.

"The real risk as far as the market is concerned right now is if we see militaries intervening in other Middle Eastern countries as well," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130704/oil-prices-fall-after-recent-spikes