Oil Spikes on Egypt Concerns

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Oil prices climbed toward $92 a barrel Thursday as the violent street clashes in Egypt drew attention away from bearish U.S. crude and gasoline supply figures.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for March delivery was up 92 cents at $91.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled 9 cents higher at $90.86 on Wednesday.
In London, Brent crude gained 49 cents to $102.83 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange after trading as high as $103.37 earlier in the session.
U.S. energy supply data gave mixed signals about the strength of consumer demand. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude supplies rose less than expected last week but that gasoline inventories jumped more than analyst forecasts to the highest level since March 1993.
"Considering the level of demand, the level of stocks, and the spare capacity left in OPEC, the U.S. is in an extremely comfortable supply situation," said Oliver Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak fought running battles in Cairo on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving at least three people dead and 600 injured, after the 82-year-old leader resisted protesters' calls for his immediate resignation. Shipping through Egypt's Suez Canal has not been disrupted, but investors are also concerned political instability could spread to oil rich countries in the Middle East.
Oil hovered in the $70s for most of last year but jumped up in the fourth quarter and has traded near $90 so far this year, triggering concerns that higher costs for fuel will spark inflation and undermine global economic growth.
On Thursday, Australia's national carrier Qantas Airways said it will boost international fares by $20 to $50 later this month because of soaring jet fuel prices.
Traders are also mulling a U.S. stock market rally, frigid winter weather, Europe's debt problems and a U.S. January employment report scheduled for Friday.
"We don't remember this many diverse factors competing so fiercely for oil traders' attention," energy consultants Cameron Hanover said in a report.
In other Nymex trading in March contracts, heating oil rose 2.12 cents to $2.8019 a gallon and gasoline gained 1.75 cents to $2.516 a gallon. Natural gas futures were down 0.8 cent at $4.421 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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  • by Chris Location: Clinton on Feb 3, 2011 at 07:18 AM
    This legal thievery is diguisting.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 3, 2011 at 06:11 AM
    looks like this all had one thing behind it.HOW TO BRING UP OIL PRICES.This hurts other countries.Do certain people care.NO.Because a country has problems,others should not have to pay a price.Where the wars are that we got our noise in are examples.Of course wars help keep gas prices up,so it's considered demand of all that fuel it takes to run planes,tanks,trucks,ships,ect.Being in our armed forces to have a job,because so many of ours went overseas,makes unemployment better than it would be without wars.The world is becoming just what the bible said it would.Greedy & doomed.
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