(Corrects U.S. crude settlement price to $93.35 from $93.26,
* U.S. new home sales, services activity fall
* Fed to lay groundwork for interest rate rise
* Putin to meet Ukraine's Poroshenko on Tuesday
* Brent net longs hit new low on ample supply
By Anna Louie Sussman
NEW YORK, Aug 25 Brent crude oil edged higher on
Monday while U.S. crude fell in light trading, as support from
geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Libya offset ample supplies
and anticipated weak demand after a slew of disappointing
economic data from the United States and Europe.
"Liquidity is down because of the holiday in London and the
usual August vacation time, And while the market continues to
see increasing geopolitical risk in Libya and the Russia,
Ukraine situation, traders are more focused so far on concerns
about slowing demand with the weak data from Europe and the
United States," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group
in Chicago, referring to a fall in new home sales and cooling
services sector activity in the United States, and weak business
sentiment in Germany.
London financial markets were closed on Monday due to a
national bank holiday.
Brent crude rose 36 cents to settle at $102.65 a
barrel. It hit a 14-month low of $101.07 on Aug. 19. U.S. crude
fell by 30 cents to settle at $93.35 a barrel.
"The market's range-bound; it's consolidating and finding
support against previous lows," said Bill Baruch, senior market
strategist at iitrader.com in Chicago.
Brent crude has traded largely within a $101 to $106 range
in August, and U.S. crude has mostly remained between $93 and
CME Group delayed the start of trade on its
electronic platform by four hours on Monday because of technical
problems, the latest glitch to hit the world's largest futures
market operator, but traders in the United States and Asia said
it had limited impact.
Underlining the extent of the recent selling pressure,
exchange data on Monday showed hedge funds and other big
speculators, in the week to Aug. 19, cut their bets on rising
Brent prices to the lowest in more than two years.
A further recovery in Libyan output, last reported to be
612,000 barrels per day (bpd), looks uncertain, analysts said.
Rockets hit an airport in eastern Libya on Monday, a day after
fire destroyed the terminal at Tripoli's main airport.
The Libyan parliament that was replaced in an election in
June reconvened on Monday and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as
prime minister, leaving the chaotic country with two rival
leaders and assemblies each backed by armed factions.
In Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his
Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko for the first time in
months on Tuesday to try to reach a compromise on Ukraine.
Russia wants to send a second humanitarian aid convoy to
eastern Ukraine in the near future, Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said on Monday after Kiev and the West criticised Moscow
for sending the first convoy without official permission.
The dollar index rose as the U.S. Federal Reserve
prepared to lay the groundwork for the central bank's first
interest rate increase in nearly a decade.
A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities such
as oil more expensive for holders of other currencies and tends
to weigh on prices.
(Additional reporting by Robert Gibbons in New York, Alex
Lawler in London, Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Dale
Hudson, David Goodman, Gunna Dickson and Chris Reese)