Crude up in Asian trade

Singapore, Feb 18 (AFP) Oil was up in Asian tradetoday as persistent tensions in the Middle East and NorthAfrica continued to push prices higher, analysts said.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude fordelivery in March, gained a cent to USD 86.37.

Brent North Sea crude for April delivery rose twocents to USD 102.61.

"I think that crude oil prices could again beboosted by unrest around the Middle East and North Africa,"said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures inSingapore.

Tensions around the region continued to persisttoday, with casualties as well as fatalities in Libya andBahrain as security forces clashed with anti-regimeprotesters.

Crime spiralled in the capital city of post-uprising Tunisia and Egypt''s military leadership assumed whatit says is temporary control over the Arab world''s mostpopulous nation.

In Algeria, senior former regime leader AbdelhamidMehri urged President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to implementsweeping political changes as pro-democracy protests took rootin the country.

Tensions in the Middle East and north Africa, hometo major Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) members, tend to push oil prices higher as tradersworry over the potential for supply disruption. (AFP)

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