SINGAPORE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - U.S. oil slipped toward $109 a barrel on Thursday after crude stockpiles in the United States rose more than expected, but rising tensions in the Middle East kept prices near a 2-year high.
Oil jumped this week on fears that a potential U.S-led military strike on Syria could spread unrest to major oil producers in the Middle East and disrupt supply.
* U.S. crude for October delivery fell 73 cents to $109.37 a barrel by 0024 GMT after gaining nearly 4 percent in the previous two sessions to hit a two-year high of $112.24 on Wednesday.
* Brent crude for October was at $115.82, down 79 cents after touching a 6-month high of $117.34 on Wednesday.
* U.S. crude stockpiles rose almost 3 million barrels to 362 million barrels last week, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday, far exceeding a forecast of a 0.2 million barrel build in a Reuters poll.
* Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, have dropped 26 percent since the end of June to 36.59 million barrels, falling 837,000 barrels last week.
* Brent’s premium to U.S. crude CL-LCO1=R was at more than $6 a barrel, the widest since June, on expectations of rising supply at the U.S. contract’s delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma. Genscape reported that a train carrying crude oil arrived at Hawthorn Oil Transportation’s Stroud, Oklahoma, terminal, which could signal more supply will be delivered to the Cushing hub via the Hawthorn pipeline.
* President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday that the Syrian government would face “international consequences” for last week’s deadly chemical attack, but made clear any military response would be limited to avoid dragging the United States into another war in the Middle East.
* Libya is seeking a peaceful way to end oil strikes that have crippled its crude exports but will take alternative action if needed, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said.
* Egypt should not ban the Muslim Brotherhood or exclude it from politics after the army’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, the interim prime minister said, reversing his previous stated view.
* The safe-haven yen on Thursday trimmed some of the recent chunky gains that had taken it to three-week highs against the dollar, while a rebound in the Brazilian real offered hopes that emerging market currencies in Asia may find a bit of a reprieve.
* Until a few days ago, it looked like a sure bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve would announce the beginning of the end of its massive bond buying program in September. Now, investors are less certain.
* The following data is expected on Thursday:
- 0755 GMT Germany Unemployment rate
- 0800 GMT Italy Consumer confidence
- 1200 GMT Germany Consumer inflation
- 1230 GMT U.S. Weekly jobless claims
Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin