Brent crude oil futures dipped below $114 per barrel as supply disruption concerns faded slightly. Worries about disruption to supply, while still a significant factor, eased after the United States said it did not believe Israel had made a decision to attack Iran.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who visited Israel two weeks ago, told reporters it was important that military action should be the last resort. His remarks helped ease worries of a conflict after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that most threats to Israel's security were dwarfed by the prospect that Iran could obtain nuclear weaponry.
Brent crude was down 33 cents at $113.70 per barrel after ending up 43 cents at its highest settlement since May 3. U.S. crude fell 42 cents to $93.01 after closing 70 cents higher. Brent has swung between a high of more than $128 per barrel and a low of $88.49 this year as investors' focus has shifted between heightened Middle East supply worries and a weakening growth outlook. The range of nearly $40 is the widest since 2009, when it was $40.91. In 2011 the range was $34.65 and in 2010 $27.33.