Oil jumped to the highest in more than two years for Forex trading brokers, as violence intensified in Libya, stoking concern crude supplies will be disrupted as violence escalates around the Middle East and North Africa.
New York futures for April delivery rose as much as 9.8 percent from the close on Feb. 18, while London-traded Brent surged to the highest since September 2008, as soldiers deserted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s government and diplomats quit.
Brent may trade between $105 and $110 a barrel in coming weeks if uncertainty continues, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.
Crude for April delivery rose as high as $98.48 and was at $97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:24 p.m. Singapore time. It settled at $89.71 on Feb. 18. Floor trading was closed yesterday for the Presidents Day holiday and electronic trades are booked into today’s for settlement purposes.
The March contract, which expires today, gained as much as $8.29 to $94.49 a barrel. The front-month contract is 16 percent higher from a year earlier.
Brent for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange climbed as much as $2.44, or 2.3 percent, to $108.18. It gained $3.22, or 3.1 percent, to $105.74 a barrel yesterday, the highest settlement since Sept. 22, 2008.
Crude oil in London may trade between $105 and $110 a barrel in coming weeks amid uncertainty in Libya, according to Goldman Sachs International’s head of commodities research,Jeffrey Currie. Prices may reach a record if unrest spreads to larger producers in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, he said.
Libya, holder of the largest crude reserves on the African continent, pumped 1.6 million barrels a day of oil in January, equivalent of about 8 percent of U.S. consumption.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.8 percent while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures sank 1.1 percent from last week as investors grew concerned that rising fuel prices will derail the economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude user.