* Global economy slowing, confidence "very fragile" - IMF
* Dollar strengthens, euro falls
* NATO says plans in place to defend Turkey from Syria
* U.S. crude stockpiles forecast to rise 1 mln bbls - poll
* Coming Up: API weekly oil inventories data at 2030 GMT
(Updates prices, adds comment; paragraphs 1, 5, 13-14, 17)
By Alice Baghdjian
LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell towards $114a barrel but remained close to a three-week high on Wednesday,as worries over the security of Middle East supplies outweighedincreasing evidence of slowing global economic growth.
Weak risk sentiment coursed through financial markets,pulling down stock markets and boosting the dollar after theInternational Monetary Fund said a deepening euro zone debtcrisis was threatening the global economy.
The IMF said in its semi-annual check on the world'sfinancial health that risks to global financial stability hadrisen in the past six months, leaving confidence "very fragile."
But shelling along the Turkey-Syria border, hostilitybetween Iran and the West, and an impending Israeli election,have raised worries over the risks to oil supplies from theMiddle East Gulf, keeping a floor under prices.
Brent crude fell 25 cents a barrel to $114.25 by1035 GMT, after hitting its highest for three weeks earlier inthe session. U.S. crude fell 50 cents to $91.89 a barrel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an earlyelection on Tuesday, eager to strengthen his political positionahead of any military action against Iran.
"The nuclear dispute with Iran is going to be an electionissue in Israel, and this might cause the price to rise incoming weeks, or at least support it," said Carsten Fritsch, oilanalyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
"Other factors are playing a hand in this, such as thetensions between Turkey and Syria," Fritsch added.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphic on WTI-Brent spread: Graphic of 24-hr chart Brent analysis: ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> CHINA
Global economic gloom, meanwhile, has put a dampener on manymarkets.
China's annual economic growth probably slowed for a seventhstraight quarter in the July-September period to its weakestlevel since the depths of the global financial crisis, a Reuterspoll showed.
On Tuesday the IMF said that the global economic slowdownwas worsening and cut its growth forecasts for the second timesince April, warning U.S. and European policymakers that failureto fix their economic ills would prolong the slump.
The IMF forecast global output in 2012 would grow by only3.3 percent, down from a July estimate of 3.5 percent.
"Investors would like to remain cautious as the economicconditions across the euro zone remain fragile with Greece andPortugal being the main issue for the short-term," said MyrtoSokou, a senior research analyst at Sucden Financial.
Middle East tensions remain a constant worry for oil and arecountering bearish fundamentals.
Turkey and Syria have repeatedly exchanged fire since lastweek after Syrian shells struck a Turkish border town. Turkey'schief of general staff said on Wednesday that the country'smilitary would respond with greater force if shelling from Syriacontinued to spill over the border.
NATO says that it has plans in place to defend Turkeyagainst an attack from Syria and will aim to provide assistanceif Ankara asks for it.
"There is no shortage of supply needing to be offset byadditional oil at the moment," Fritsch said. "Indeed, it israther the supply risks and the ultra-loose monetary policypursued by central banks that are driving the price upwards."
Investors were looking to weekly data on oil inventoriesfrom the United States, due this week, for hints on demand atthe top oil consumer. Analysts forecast a 1 million barrel buildin crude stocks in the week to Oct. 5.
Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute will bereleased at 2030 GMT on Wednesday and figures from the U.S.government's Department of Energy will follow on Thursday, bothsets of figures delayed a day by the U.S. Columbus Day holiday.
(Additional reporting by Florance Tan in Singapore; editing byChristopher Johnson and James Jukwey)
Keywords: MARKETS OIL/