NYMEX-U.S. crude holds near $102 as Ukraine crisis worsens

SINGAPORE, April 25 Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:59pm EDT

SINGAPORE, April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures held near $102 a barrel in early Asian trade on Friday, supported by supply disruption fears as Ukraine resumed its operation to disarm pro-Moscow separatists in the east of the country and retake their positions.

U.S. oil futures were up 1 cent at $101.95 a barrel by 0049 GMT, after settling 50 cents higher on Thursday. Brent gained 8 cents to $110.41, after ending up $1.22.

*FUNDAMENTALS

Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists' military stronghold in the east, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Thursday that the United States is drawing closer to imposing more sanctions on Russia by saying time was running out for Moscow to change its course in Ukraine.

The amount of oil the world's energy producers can quickly bring on line without major investments rose slightly, but remained well below last year's level. Global surplus production capacity, an important factor in world crude prices, averaged 2.1 million barrels per day in March and April, said the Energy Information Administration, or EIA.

*MARKETS NEWS

Global equity markets rose in choppy trading on Thursday in the wake of strong earnings results from tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook, but worries about rising tensions in Ukraine limited gains and dragged the dollar lower.

Apple,, the most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization, rose 8.2 percent to $567.77, a day after posting revenue that far exceeded expectations. Facebook Inc's and Caterpillar Inc's earnings also beat expectations.

(Reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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