Oil prices up above $101 on renewed unrest in Ukraine

Source:PABLO GORONDI, Associated Press
FILE - In this March 5, 2014 file photo, pro-Russia demonstrators holding a Russian flag, with the Ukrainian emblem in the background, stand on the balcony of the regional administrative building after storming it in Donetsk, Ukraine. With Crimea in Russia’s pocket, the world anxiously awaits Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move. Protesters have seized administrative buildings in several eastern cities and hoisted Russian flags over them. Some clashed with supporters of the Kiev government, raising the danger that the Kremlin could use violence as a pretext to send in troops. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)
Copyright 2014, The Associated Press

The price of oil climbed above $101 a barrel Tuesday, supported by renewed unrest in eastern Ukraine and as traders awaited weekly data on U.S. crude stockpiles.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude oil for May delivery was up 90 cents to $101.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 70 cents on Monday following reports that four Libyan oil terminals under militia control could soon open, possibly boosting global supplies.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international oil varieties, was up 61 cents to $106.43 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. It fell 90 cents on Monday to $105.82.

Tensions in Ukraine escalated again Tuesday, as security forces ousted pro-Russian protesters from an occupied government building in the eastern city of Kharkiv, while regional administration headquarters in Donetsk remained under protesters' control. They are demanding referendums on the regions' status, which could pave the way for further annexations by Russia.

"Any further escalation of the situation would intensify tensions between Russia and the West and could lead to tighter sanctions being imposed on Russia," said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a note to clients. "So far, the market appears to believe this to be unlikely, though that means the price would react all the more strongly if sanctions actually were imposed on the Russian oil and gas sector."

Investors will also be monitoring fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.

Data for the week ending April 4 are expected to show a build of 2.5 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a draw of 1.3 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its report on oil stocks later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil and distillates inventories are running at or slightly below levels a year ago.

 


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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