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May 28, 2017

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Oil prices rebound in Asia after worries over Iraq, Ukraine ease

SINGAPORE--Oil prices rebounded in Asia Tuesday on bargain hunting after tumbling on easing concerns about conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery rose 38 cents to US$96.79, while Brent crude for October was up 23 cents to US$101.83 in afternoon trade. WTI fell 94 cents in New York trade Monday, while Brent sank US$1.93 in London to hit its lowest level since June 2013.

"Oil prices generally are continuing to fall with the dying down of geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Iraq," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets said.

A declaration by Ukraine last week that it had destroyed some Russian armored cars had sparked fears that the simmering tensions between the neighbors could escalate into a full-fledged war.

Such a development could cause energy prices to surge as Russia is the world's number-two oil producer, and Ukraine is a key conduit for Moscow's gas exports to Europe.

But talks late Sunday that also involved the foreign ministers of Germany and France concluded with an agreement for the sides to meet again and continue trying to de-escalate the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Concerns over the ongoing Islamist insurgency in Iraq, the OPEC cartel's second biggest producer, have also eased, McCarthy said.

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