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Oil Eases, Investors Eye Economic Growth

Source: Al-Ahram 3/6/2012, Location: Middle East

Oil eased in volatile trading towards $123 a barrel as concerns over global economic growth trumped the supply risks and tension associated with Iran's controversial nuclear work.

Brent crude fell 66 cents to $123.12 a barrel by 1009 GMT after climbing to a daily high of $124.39. U.S. crude slid 62 cents to $106.09.

"On the one hand, the market is trading already on the expensive side. Given mixed economic data, the upside potential for prices from here should be limited," said Tobias Merath, head of Global Commodity Research at Credit Suisse Private Banking.

"At the same time, geopolitical risks are a growing concern, preventing prices from easing. Overall, we think price risks are slightly skewed to the upside due to strong technical momentum and a positive trend."

Israel's increasingly strident stance towards Iran over its nuclear program is keeping oil markets on edge. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed no sign of backing away from possible military action against the OPEC member after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised the alarm over Iran's nuclear work, saying there were indications of activities at Parchin, an Iranian military site its inspectors want to visit.

Tehran said it would give the U.N. nuclear watchdog access to Parchin. It did not give a date for such a visit.

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