London - World oil prices rose Monday,
with New York crude reaching the highest level for three-and-a-half
months on tensions between Iran and Israel, and economic recovery
hopes, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in September
reached as high as $96.53 a barrel - the highest point since May 11.
It later stood at $96.15, up 14 cents
compared with Friday's close.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in
October climbed 66 cents to $114.37 in London midday deals.
Analysts at JBC Energy research group
said "growing tensions in the Middle East and hints of new
economic stimulus measures" were supporting prices.
Israel's media is increasingly speaking
about an imminent unilateral strike being prepared by the country
against nuclear sites in major oil producer Iran.
Israel, like its close ally the United
States, accuses Iran of seeking to develop an atomic arsenal.
Tehran denies this, and says its
nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful, while its military chiefs
warn that they will destroy Israel if it attacks.
JBC Energy analysts on Monday added
that New York oil prices may have won a boost from comments by the
head of the International Energy Agency, Maria van der Hoeven, who on
Friday ruled out the need to tap into US oil reserves.
Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch
said oil prices were recouping some of the losses suffered on Friday.
"The fall in price had been
triggered by US plans to tap into strategic reserves," he added.
Media reports have said the United States is considering the
possibility of releasing extra oil supplies to help bring down crude
prices, which it deems too high and thus a strain on economic
Analysts say such a move would give a
boost to US President Barack Obama in his quest to win re-election
later this year.
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