Oil prices fell back from 10-year highs this week in the wake of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement to end Israeli-Palestinian violence and return to the faltering peace process.
The deal eased market concerns that oil-producing Arab Gulf nations would be drawn into the conflict and repeat the 1973 oil embargo to punish supporters of Israel, analysts said.
Benchmark Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in November was selling for 30.90 dollars a barrel in London by Friday afternoon, from 34.38 dollars last week.
In New York, November light sweet crude was selling for 32.91 dollars a barrel, against 36.06 dollars.
But the market remained cautious amid signs that Israeli and Palestinian leaders might have difficulties selling the Sharm el-Sheikh deal to their people.
"The days ahead will be difficult, days of fire and of fighting," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in a speech Wednesday, after US President Bill Clinton announced a 48-hour deadline until Friday evening for implementing a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, as agreed at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.
And investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of an emergency Arab summit in Cairo at the weekend on the Middle East crisis.
Prices gained support on Wednesday from figures showing a sharp fall in US crude stock levels of 4.5 million barrels to 283.2 million last week.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.