Oil slips more than $1 as Syria worries ease
SINGAPORE, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Oil futures fell more than $1 in early Asian trade on Monday as concerns over disruptions to supply receded as a possible military strike on Syria appeared less imminent.
Brent ended last week up nearly 3 percent, gaining the most since early July, on worries a strike by Western forces against Syria would rattle the Middle East and disrupt oil exports at a time when markets are already coping with loss of supplies from Libya and Sudan.
But those fears eased after U.S. President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional authorisation for punitive military action against Syria, which is likely to delay any strike for at least nine days as the current summer recess ends on Sept. 9.
Brent futures fell to a low of $112.20 a barrel and were trading down $1.62 at $112.39 by 2316 GMT.
Losses in the U.S. benchmark were steeper. It declined to a low of $104.21, and was down $1.93 at $105.69.
Before Obama announced his plans of seeking approval from Congress, the path had been cleared for a U.S. assault. Warships were in place and awaiting orders to launch missiles, and U.N. inspectors had left Syria after gathering evidence on the use of chemical weapons.
The United States had originally been expected to lead a strike relatively quickly, backed by its NATO allies Britain and France. But British lawmakers voted on Thursday against any involvement and France said on Sunday it would await the U.S. Congress decision.
Further losses were stemmed by data out of the world's second-biggest oil consumer China that showed factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in August with a jump in new orders.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) figure, published by the National Bureau of Statistics, rose to 51.0 in August from 50.3 in July, the highest level since last April and ahead of market expectations of 50.6 in a Reuters poll.
A fall in supplies from the producer group the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also helped put a floor under prices.
OPEC supply averaged 30.32 million bpd (bpd) in August, down from a revised 30.50 million bpd in July, the survey of shipping data and sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants found.
(Reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Joseph Radford)