UPDATE 5-Oil falls as Syria tensions ease, U.S. data weak
* Brent down 3.5 percent since last Friday
* Investors focus on Syria, Fed meeting next week
* Global oil market remains tight
(Updates prices, changes byline, dateline (pvs LONDON)
NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell on Friday, putting it on track for its steepest weekly decline since June, as fears receded about an imminent military strike on Syria as Russia and the United States agreed on a new push to negotiate an end to that country's civil war.
U.S. crude also fell after weak consumer confidence and retail sales data pointed toward slower growth during the third quarter in the world's largest oil consumer.
Brent was down about 3.5 percent since last Friday. The international benchmark has slid about $5 a barrel since the end of August, when it jumped above $117 amid worries that a possible U.S. attack on Syria could lead to more violence in a region that pumps around a third of the world's oil.
Tensions have eased this week, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov working to flesh out a Moscow plan to dispose of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons.
"The Syrian talks are at a stalemate so that's helping pull down prices, because there's no imminence of an attack," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
"And we've had some questionable data points. There's a view that we're going to get the tapering announcement next week from the Fed," he said.
Investors are focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week. The U.S. central bank is expected to begin tapering, or reducing monthly bond purchases. Weak U.S. data has analysts expecting less of a reduction than once thought.
The Brent crude futures contract for October, which expires on Friday, fell 63 cents to $112 a barrel by 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT), after earlier touching a session low of $111.60.
U.S. crude shed 85 cents to $107.75 a barrel, after hitting a session low of $107.23.
Brent was on course for its first weekly decline in a month, its steepest since the week ending June 21.
Although global oil markets remain tight, with more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Libyan crude oil exports unavailable due to civil unrest and strikes, investors expect supplies to improve over the next few months.
"Oil markets are likely to be better supplied in the fourth quarter," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "It's not surprising oil prices are falling as the Middle East risk premium diminishes."
Libya's state National Oil Corp has declared force majeure or its inability to honour contracts on three ports, according to a company document, following several weeks of shutdown.
In addition, a processing platform in Norway's Ekofisk crude stream will be partially shut down in the next week for repairs, its operator has said, which may further delay shipments of the oil that helps set the Brent benchmark.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson in London, James Topham and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo; Editing by David Gregorio)