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May 22, 2017

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Oil prices down further in Asian trade amid global conflict worry

SINGAPORE--Oil prices fell further in Asia Thursday on ebbing fears about armed conflicts around the world and concerns about weakening U.S. demand, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery dipped 24 cents to US$96.68 in late-afternoon trade, after falling 46 cents in New York to its lowest closing level since Feb. 3.

Brent crude for September eased eight cents to US$104.51.

Oil prices have seen a build in risk premium in recent months over armed insurgencies in crude producers Iraq and Libya, as well as Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian energy exports to Europe.

But a market awash with supplies have since eased worries that disruptions caused by these geopolitical crises will have any significant impact on prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report released Wednesday showed a 4.4 million barrel drop in gasoline stocks and a 1.8 million barrel decline in diesel inventories. Both products had been expected to show increases.

Despite the bullish figures, market watchers are concerned about lower gasoline use once the summer driving season ends in a few weeks.

The driving season is the peak demand time for gasoline demand in the U.S. as long road trips are taken for vacations.

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