Oil stays above USD 100 a barrel in Asian trade

Singapore, Feb 1 (AFP) World oil prices stayed aboveUSD 100 a barrel in Asian trade today on fears the escalatingturmoil in Egypt will disrupt supply flows through thestrategic Suez Canal.

Prices barrelled through the psychological thresholdovernight for the first time since the 2008 economic crisis asprotests in Egypt demanding the removal of President HosniMubarak mounted.

Egypt is not a major oil producer, but is home to thevitally important Suez Canal, which carries around 2.4 millionbarrels of oil a day -- roughly equivalent to the daily outputof Iraq or Brazil.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude for Marchdelivery, was down 22 cents to USD 91.97 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March fell 57cents to USD 100.44 after touching 101.73 overnight, thehighest level since October 2008.

Prices were slipping in early Asian trade as traderscashed in their profits, said Ong Yi Ling, investment analystat Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"One of the factors might be profit-taking since we''reat 27-month highs," she told AFP, adding that the dip might betemporary as the Egyptian political crisis dragged on.

"For Brent, we can still see more upside... If thetensions continue, it will continue to provide support for theoil prices," she said.

But the ebullient gains on the crude market wouldeventually be capped by "many parties that are concerned thathigh prices might form a threat to the economic recovery," Ongsaid. (AFP)

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