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Brent steady above $112 on Iran

Washington, February 3, 2012

Brent crude held above $112 on Friday as reports that Israel could strike Iran in the spring heightened already simmering tensions in the region.

The market was held back by caution ahead of key U.S. jobs data, which with dragging talks on Greek debt saw Asian shares and the euro weaken.

Front-month Brent crude rose 27 cents to $112.34 a barrel by 0449 GMT, gaining for a fourth straight day. US crude increased 5 cents to $96.41 a barrel, reversing five straight sessions of losses.

'The oil market is getting driven on a headline by headline basis coming out of the Middle East,' Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress, said in a report.

'Otherwise across financial markets the focus is on today's employment numbers. Everybody is waiting to see if data out of the United States continues to improve.'

Brent is poised to rise about 1 percent this week, extending the previous week's about 1.5 per cent gain. US crude is set to fall 3 percent, the steepest since the week ended December 18.

The Washington Post reported that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was concerned about the increased likelihood Israel would launch an attack as early as April.

CNN said it confirmed the report, citing a senior Obama administration official, who declined to be identified.-Reuters




Tags: Oil | Iran | Brent | Israel | Nuclear | attack | US jobs |

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