18 Feb '11, 4am

Oil pushes higher, stock markets sluggish in Asia

HONG KONG: Oil prices pushed higher in Asia on Thursday as a Japanese minister fretted about the effects of Middle East unrest, while stock markets were mostly underwhelmed by a strong session on Wall Street. Japan's economy minister voiced disquiet about oil supplies to his energy-poor country after violent clashes in Middle Eastern countries from Bahrain to Libya, with tensions also heightened following moves by Iran to send naval ships into the Mediterranean. "Stability in the Middle East has important implications for Japan because the region is a big supplier of crude, which is a lifeline for our economy," economy minister Kaoru Yosano said at a regular press conference, quoted by Dow Jones Newswires. Brent North Sea crude for April delivery rose two cents to $102.61 in Asian trade, while New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, gained a cent...

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

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