NewsCrude jumps above $98 as the Middle East crisis continues affecting supply outlook
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AnalysisCrude traded above $98 per barrel today as the power struggle in Libya continues and disrupts oil production, with the protests spreading to Oman sending a wave of fear in the market over spreading skirmish in the oil rich Middle East. 

Crude today hovers around $98 per barrel recording its highest around $98.86 and lowest around $98.55, while it currently trading around $98.64 per barrel.

Futures recorded the biggest gains in two years this week due to ongoing clashes between supports and anti-government protestors of Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, where recently crude flow from the country was cut by two thirds down at least 750 thousand barrels per day, from its past and regular capacity of 1.6 million barrels daily.

Meanwhile, Oman has been added to the list of Mid-East countries witnessing political upheaval as two demonstrators have been killed and several injured, following police crackdown on protests yesterday; however, Oman is considered to be the largest crude producer in the Middle East.

Crude last Friday traded around $97 per barrel recording its highest around $99.17 and lowest around $96.38 per barrel, closing around $97.66 per barrel. Futures soared last Friday due to fears overwhelming investors over the Middle East, specifically since the Libyan government is cracking down on protestors leading several oil companies like Eni and Repsol, YPF, BP and French oil giant Total to temporarily suspend production. Libya holds the largest oil reserve in Africa producing over 1.6 million barrels per day, and one of largest oil contributors in the world and part of OPEC.

Investors fear that the protests in the Middle East and North Africa could spread to other oil-rich countries in the region, alongside jitters regarding skyrocketing oil prices that could undermine consumer spending and thus effect global economic growth.

As for NYMEX as of 04:47 EST; motor gasoline rose $0.97 recording $276.620 per gallon; heating is trading around $296.000 per gallon inclining $0.99; whereas natural gasoline shed $0.62 to record $3.980. In London, Brent futures gained $0.99 to record $113.250.