Thu Mar 30, 2017 | 16:48
Oil prices surge on Libya, ME unrests
Wed, 23 Mar 2011 06:53:04 GMT
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Crude oil prices are on the rise as tensions in the Middle East and fighting between Gaddafi's loyalists and revolutionary forces as well as a US-led military intrusion rages on.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery settled up $1.67, or 1.6%, at $104 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange recently settled up 74 cents, or 0.6%, at $115.70 a barrel.

The price hike comes following reports of intense exchanges of fire between Libyan government forces and a US-led military alliance as well as opposition forces east of the country. Persisting protests in Yemen and Bahrain have also added to worries among investors of a potential disruption of oil supplies in oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The month-long revolution in Libya has virtually cut off the country's daily production of 1.6 million barrels, as the unrest has rocked the oil-rich regions of the volatile state.

The disruption of Libya's oil production has also renewed concerns that the unrest could spread to other oil producing countries in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Japan's March 11 market-rattling earthquake and tsunami has also fueled further concerns as analysts believe that the crisis-hit country will likely boost its oil and gas imports to make up for the loss of energy it has suffered as a result of its damaged nuclear reactors.

Experts predict that oil prices will likely hit $120 a barrel in the coming months, consequently contributing to even higher food and gasoline prices.

AO/MMA/MB
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