Oil retreats from 2-year high, falls below $109

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil fell below $109 a barrel Thursday, easing off a two-year high, after a report showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down $1.15 to $108.95 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract rose $1.09, or 1 percent, to $110.10 a barrel on Wednesday, driven higher by the prospect of Western military intervention in Syria’s civil war. That was its highest closing price since May 3, 2011. Earlier in the day, oil charged as high as $112.24.

The American Petroleum Institute said crude stocks for the week ended Aug. 23 rose by 2.47 million barrels to about 366.6 million barrels. Rising supplies tend to hold oil prices down.

Still, JBC Energy said current developments, such as low spare capacity in Saudi Arabia and signs of an improving global economy, pointed to tighter markets.

The oil price has surged 27 percent since touching a low for the year of $86.68 on April 17. Recently, it has been propelled higher by political unrest in Egypt and the threat of U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war. Neither country is a major oil exporter, but traders are concerned that the violence could spread to more important oil-exporting countries or disrupt major oil transport routes.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes, fell $1.16 to $115.45 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Heating oil fell 2.2 cents to $3.189 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.6 cent to $3.588 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Wholesale gasoline fell 2.8 cents to $2.933 per gallon.

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