Oil futures advanced early Monday, with both benchmarks holding near the highest their highest level in three weeks amid fresh concerns over Libyan supplies while unfolding crisis in Ukraine remained in focus.
The bulls are taking the trading wheel again this morning, helping crude oil extend last week’s firm rally. But with no major news out of the economic agenda today, focus shifts back to eastern Ukraine/Russia standoff and Libya where geopolitical tension continues to flicker due to fresh violence between the rebels and governments, stoking fears over a disruption to supplies from the region.
As of 02:12 a.m. ET:
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery rose 0.19% to $102.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, , after adding 46 cents to settle at $102.02 on Friday.
Brent for June delivery rose 0.26% to $110.03 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London, after adding 79 cents to settle at $109.75 on Friday.
NYMEX Natural Gas rose 0.43% to $4.432 per million British thermal units, rebounding slightly from a six-week low hit last Thursday.
In eastern Ukraine, worsening geopolitical tension kept the oil market going forward, with a looming presidential elections being thwarted by the ongoing fight between government forces and insurgets across the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk over the weekend.
Western governments have imposed sanctions on Russian companies and people with close ties to President Vladimir Putin, who was threatened with more sanctions if he destabilizes Eastern Ukraine before a May 25 Presidential ballot.
Adding to the upward pressure were fears of supply disruption resurfacing from Libya amid worsening unrest in the North African country.
Armed groups attacked the country’s interim parliament and an airbase in the east yesterday, where a Libyan commander declared that parliament had been suspended, following deadly clashes in the capital Tripoli. At least 70 people died in the fighting.
Libya, a member of the OPEC cartel, is North Africa’s largest oil-exporting nation, where exports are expected to quadruple to one million per day by mid-June, after the resumption of oil exports following a nine-month blockade of sea terminal by rebels.