London Brent oil price hits USD 105 on Libya violence

London, Feb 21 (AFP) Brent oil prices soared above USD105 per barrel today, striking a fresh two-year peak as deadlyviolence in Libya fuelled concerns over spreading unrest inArab states, analysts said.

In late morning deals, Brent North Sea crude for deliveryin April surged to USD 105.08 per barrel, the highest levelsince late September 2008, before pulling back slightly to USD104.53, up USD 2.01 from Friday''s closing level.

"The tensions in the Middle East, specifically in Libya,sent Brent crude soaring above USD 105 per barrel," saidanalyst Kathleen Brooks at foreign exchange website

"Political turmoil there is spooking commodity markets,"Brooks added.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude for March,known as West Texas Intermediate, hit as high as USD 89.50. Itlater stood at USD 89.14, up USD 2.94 from Friday.

"Violence in Libya is the main driver of the price rise,"said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

"An influential tribal leader has threatened to cease oilshipments to the West within 24 hours if the violence againstprotesters does not end.

"OPEC member Libya produces 1.6 million barrels of crudeoil a day, with about 1.1 million barrels a day beingexported. Brent is likely to benefit more than WTI from thissupply risk."

Human Rights Watch said on Monday that at least 233people have been killed since Thursday in a crackdown in Libyain protests inspired by the uprisings in Libya''s neighboursEgypt and Tunisia.

Libya faces civil war and "rivers of blood," the son ofits leader Moamer Kadhafi warned on Monday, as a brutalcrackdown failed to stop an unprecedented popular uprisingfrom reaching the capital.

Libya''s elder and famously mercurial Kadhafi, 68, thelongest-serving leader in the Arab world, remained out ofsight.

Oil breached USD 104 last week on escalating tensions inthe key oil-supplying Middle East and North Africa region.


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