West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded from near its lowest level in almost three weeks amid speculation that conflict in the Middle East may spread and threaten supplies.
Futures gained 0.6 percent after losing 3.1 percent last week. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood today defied the army-backed government’s threats to crack down on protests, urging loyalists demanding the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Mursi to march on security installations. Iraq stopped pumping crude to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, according to Boutros Maritime & Transports, a port agent. Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal cautioned against increasing production capacity because he sees demand waning.
“There is enough uncertainty about supplies and strength in demand, currently and through the next month,” to support crude prices said Amrita Sen, chief oil market analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd., a consulting company in London.
WTI for September delivery advanced as much as 67 cents to $105.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange barrel, and was at $105.11 at 1:48 p.m. London time, after declining as much as 83 cents to $103.87, the lowest since July 9. The volume of all futures traded was 3 percent lower than the 100-day average.
Brent for September settlement gained as much as 72 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $107.89 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark was at a premium of $2.50 to WTI futures, up from $2.47 on July 26.