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Oil Rallies as Libya, Iran News Raise Supply Risks

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Crude-oil futures rebounded on Tuesday, with prices for Brent leading the charge higher as violence in Libya and concerns surrounding Iran’s nuclear program raised risks to global oil supplies.

Crude-oil futures for delivery in April settled at $50.52 a barrel, up 93 cents, or 1.9%, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude for April delivery on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $1.48, or 2.5%, to end at $61.02 a barrel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments are “supposedly rallying prices due to the anti-Iranian rhetoric, although today’s rally is just part of the current whipsawing we have become accustomed to in the crude market, with focus swinging back to Libya” to rally prices, said Matt Smith, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric told MarketWatch.

Netanyahu, in a highly-anticipated speech to Congress, said an emerging diplomatic agreement with Iran would assure that Tehran eventually acquires a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, rival forces in Libya, which is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, carried out strikes on oil terminals and an airport, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The focus on Wednesday will shift to rising production and rising inventories in the U.S. with the weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Administration. A separate supply report from trade group the American Petroleum Institute will be released late Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Platts expect to see a climb of 3.7 million barrels in crude inventories for the week ended Feb. 27. They’re also looking for a decline of 1.7 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles and a fall of 2.2 million barrels for distillate supplies, which include heating oil.

Petroleum-product prices climbed ahead of the weekly supply data. Nymex gasoline for April rose 5.3 cents, or 2.8%, to $1.9499 a gallon, while April heating oil settled at $1.9395, up 5.2 cents, or 2.8%.

April natural gas tacked on 1.4 cents, or 0.5%, to end at $2.712 per million British thermal units.

Source: www.marketwatch.com

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