04 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – Crude oil prices rose to a six-week high after manufacturing expanded in the United States and Asia in December and as concern persisted that further sanctions against Iran may disrupt shipments.
Futures gained as much as four per cent on the first day of trading this year as the Institute for Supply Management’s US factory index rose more than expected, adding to increases in China and India. An Iranian military official warned the US against sending an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf.
“It looks like the US economy is coming back,” said Adam Sieminski, Chief Energy Economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington. “The upside risk for prices is greater than the downside risk.”
Crude oil for February delivery rose $3.90, or 3.9 per cent, to $102.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched $102.88, the highest level since November 17. Futures climbed 8.2 per cent last year, the third consecutive yearly increase.
Brent oil for February settlement advanced $4.09, or 3.8 per cent, to $111.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate futures was at $8.74, down from a record $27.88 on October 14.