Oil rises above $85 as traders eye Iran protests
15 февраля 2011 г. kansascity
Oil prices rose above $85 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as violent street protests in Iran raised fears crude supplies could be disrupted from one of world's biggest producers.
Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 26 cents at $85.07 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 77 cents to settle at $84.81 on Monday.
In London, Brent crude for April delivery gained 28 cents to $103.36 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Pro-democracy protesters battled police in Tehran on Monday, emboldened by the protests in Egypt that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power last week. There have also been anti-government protests in Bahrain, Yemen and Algeria while mass demonstrations helped bring down Tunisia's long-time ruler Ben Ali earlier this year.
Iran is the second-largest oil exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries behind Saudi Arabia.
"Investors had been worried about Algeria and Jordan, Yemen and the Arab Gulf states," energy consultant Cameron Hanover said in a report. "To see the pro-democracy movement in Iran caught us by surprise. It seems that everyone in power is nervous. Every country in the Middle East seems suddenly in play."
In other Nymex trading in March contracts, heating oil rose 0.3 cent to $2.75 a gallon and gasoline gained 0.7 cent to $2.52 a gallon. Natural gas futures were down 1.2 cents at $3.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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