Brent Wavers Ahead of Italian Elections

   on February 19 2013 9:40 AM
Brent crude rises above $118 on spread buying
Pumps are seen at a gas station in Tokyo June 24, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Brent crude oil traded evenly above $117 on Tuesday as American markets reopened after a holiday. The commodity traded at $117.30 as markets looked ahead to Italian elections in the eurozone.

Without much news, the commodity wavered and reflected doubts about the eurozone's stability in the face of political instability. Italian elections are set for next week, and investors are becoming nervous as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been gaining popularity.

Berlusconi's surge in popularity is cause for concern, as the former prime minister previously resigned before the end of his term amid sky high interest rates and numerous scandals.

Brent's recent strength has been driven by positive data from the world's leading oil consumers. Specifically, optimism in the US and China has kept prices high as the two superpowers' recovery is expected to keep oil demand high in the future. However, many traders see the commodity's price falling on a lack of fresh data.

According to Reuters, some analysts are predicting that Brent will fall between $111.97 and $113.67 in March.

Although eurozone woes have weighed on the commodity, geopolitical risk in the Middle East has kept a floor under prices. Tension between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear development program has continued to escalate despite recent news that the nation's uranium was being turned into reactor fuel, allowing diplomats more time to negotiate.

Officials agreed to ease trade sanctions on gold and precious metals in return for the closure of one of Tehran's uranium enrichment plants, but the deal was turned down. Negotiations between world powers and Iranian officials are set to resume next week.

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