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June 27, 2017

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Oil prices down as fears of low supply fade

SINGAPORE--Oil prices edged lower in Asia Thursday on fading fears that conflicts in crude producers Libya and Iraq could result in a major supply disruption, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was down 27 cents at US$93.18 while Brent for October eased 26 cents to US$102.02 in afternoon trade.

"Benchmark prices weakened further as there has been no disruptions in crude supply despite ongoing crises in Iraq and Libya," said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the oil and gas practice at consultancy EY.

In Iraq, the OPEC cartel's number-two producer, U.S. air strikes that began on August 8 have pinned back the Islamic State group who have overrun large swathes of the country's north and west as well as parts of Syria.

In Libya, output has been increasing in the vital oil sector despite ongoing fighting between Islamist militia and government forces.

Output in the north African state, an OPEC member, had been severely limited for a year after rebels last summer blockaded terminals as part of a campaign to restore autonomy in the country's eastern region.

The terminals were reopened after Tripoli struck a deal with the rebels in April.

Gupta said investors will next focus on a three-day meeting of U.S. and European central bank heads in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that begins Thursday.

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