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US oil ends modestly higher, with Syria losing urgency

Reuters with
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Crude oil prices were moderately higher on both sides of the Atlantic in choppy trading on Wednesday, as the market recovered from two days of losses as the United States eased off its plans for a military strike against Syria and said it would explore diplomacy first.

Brent crude traded 50 cents higher under $112 a barrel, after dropping to a two-week low of $110.59 and closing down $2.47 on Tuesday. U.S. crude settled 17 cents higher at $107.56.

Prices were broadly supported by recent positive economic data from China and the United States, but gains were capped by U.S. government oil data that showed a smaller-than-expected decline in crude oil stocks, indicating weak demand.

Traders had bought oil last week, running up prices, on fears that unrest could spread from Syria to other parts of the Middle East, which pumps a third of the world's oil, and disrupt supplies.

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