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April 28, 2017

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World oil prices diverge as demand fears are balanced with Ukraine crisis

LONDON -- World oil prices diverged on Tuesday as traders balanced global demand fears against geopolitical concerns centered on Ukraine, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September rose 17 cents to stand at US$107.74 per barrel nearing midday in London.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September fell 15 cents to US$101.52 a barrel.

Singapore's United Overseas Bank said prices were hit by "concerns about global demand", but added that fears of tougher western sanctions against Russia over its support of separatist rebels in Ukraine were providing some support.

The European Union is expected to impose fresh measures against Russia on Tuesday, but there are concerns the move could hit the struggling eurozone economy as Russia is a key supplier of energy to the region.

Investors are also keeping an eye on the release of key U.S. data, including on second quarter growth and job creation as well as consumer confidence in the world's biggest oil consumer.

Also, Wednesday will see the U.S. Federal Reserve kick off its latest policy meeting.

Singapore banking giant DBS said there should be "no surprises" as the Fed has already signaled that it will end its massive economic stimulus measures later this year.

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