Oil down as Obama seeks Congress approval on Syria
Singapore: Oil prices fell in Asian trade today after US President Barack Obama's announcement that he would seek approval from lawmakers for military action against Syria eased prospects of an imminent strike, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, was down USD 1.47 to USD 106.18 a barrel in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for October fell USD 1.15 to USD 112.86.
US markets will be closed today for the Labor Day federal holiday.
"Investors are sitting back for now after President Obama's decision to take the decision on a Syrian intervention to US lawmakers," Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore said.
After the announcement on Saturday, Obama launched an intense lobbying effort to sway sceptical lawmakers as they weigh whether to support military action against Syria for its alleged chemical weapon use, an official said yesterday.
Although Syria is not a major oil producer, traders are nervous about a broader conflict in the crude-rich Middle East region, including neighbouring Iraq, which is becoming a major exporter.
Obama's surprise decision to hand the issue to the Congress effectively pushes military action back until at least September 9, when US lawmakers return from their summer recess.
It remains to be seen if a war-weary Congress will endorse Obama's push for action.