Oil rebounds in Asia, Brent crude above USD 102

Singapore, Feb 10 (AFP) Oil prices were higher inAsian trade today on persistent concerns over the situation inEgypt where the embattled government has warned of a militarycrackdown against protesters.

New York''s main futures contract, light sweet crudefor March, climbed 19 cents to USD 86.90 a barrel.

The contract fell overnight on rising US crudestockpiles, an indication of weak demand from the world''sbiggest oil-consuming nation.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March was up 28cents to USD 102.10 a barrel on the IntercontinentalExchange(ICE) in London.

"Crude oil prices have eased back from their recenthighs as immediate concerns over supply disruptions haveeased, but ICE Brent is still trading above USD 100 a barrel,"Standard Chartered analysts said in a research note.

"We expect the market to continue to price in asupply-risk premium as geopolitical tensions rumble onnear-term."

As protests demanding President Hosni Mubarak to stepdown escalated in Egypt, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheitwarned the army would intervene.

The US immediately encouraged the Egyptian army tocontinue displaying "the restraint that they have shown".

While Egypt is not a major crude producer, it is hometo the Suez Canal, a key shipping route that cuts through thecountry to provide a sea link between Europe and Asia.

The canal allows ships safer and faster travel betweenthe two regions without having to sail around the Africancontinent and carries about 2.4 million barrels of crudedaily, roughly equal to Iraq or Brazil''s output. (AFP)

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