16 Feb '11, 9pm

Oil surges on Iran ship movements

NEW YORK - Oil prices leaped Wednesday after Israel called the expected passage of two Iranian warships to the Mediterranean a "provocation" and as anti-government protests continued in Iran and Libya. But prices in New York remained subdued after a US government report showed stockpiles continued to mount for a fifth straight week. Brent oil prices surged nearly three dollars a barrel to a day's high of $104.52 before settling up $2.14 dollars at $103.78, on new worries over Middle East risk. Meanwhile the main US contract for March, WTI light sweet crude, closed at $84.99 dollars, up 67 cents. The main push in London came after Israel said it expected two Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal late Wednesday headed to the eastern Mediterranean. Defense Minister Ehud Barak labelled the action "hostile" and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was a "provoca...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business...

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