Brent holds steady near $108 on Ukraine

(Reuters) Brent futures held near $108 a barrel as geopolitical tensions over Ukraine worsened, overshadowing U.S. industry data that showed crude stockpiles in the world’s largest oil consumer rose nearly six times more than expected.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russian agents and special forces of stirring separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine. Unrest in the region won’t directly impact global oil supplies and trade, but overall risk premiums are rising as investors worry that simmering tensions between world powers and Russia could quickly take a turn for the worse.

“Tensions between the West and Russia could lead to unexpected consequences and that’s what the market is worried about,” said Victor Shum, vice-president of energy consultancy IHS Energy Insight. “But prices are overheated at this point and I do see them on an easing trend, but only moderately.”