Oil prices rise on supply disruption concerns

Oil barrels
Singapore, Feb 1: Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade on Wednesday amid concerns over a supply disruption in West Asia and Africa.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March, gained 18 cents to $99.66 a barrel in morning trade.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was up 44 cents to $111.42.

“Oil prices continue to be affected by several factors, including the tense situation in Iran and Sudan,” said Tony Nunan, energy risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

“We can expect prices to move sideways as markets are influenced by strong bullish and bearish factors,” he said.

Talks between Iranian officials and a delegation from the UN atomic watchdog wrapped up yesterday with no sign of any breakthrough over Tehran’s nuclear programme, media reported.

The United States and the European Union have been piling severe economic sanctions on Iran in the past three months to pressure it to halt its nuclear activities which they allege is aimed at building an atomic bomb.

Iran, which maintains its programme is for peaceful purposes, has threatened to retaliate, possibly by closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Meanwhile, traders were also closely watching the situation in South Sudan, which has nearly completed a drastic shutdown of its oil production — the fledging nation’s top revenue resource — over an oil dispute with Sudan.


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