SINGAPORE, April 25 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.
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.
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)