February crude oil prices have traded higher during the initial morning hours but were unable to rise above Friday's highs. Mixed results from global equity markets may have dampened enthusiasm for energy markets, especially with weaker US heating oil demand figures noted for the early portion of the US heating season. The market continues to find some minor support from Iranian navel exercises and from reports of a ship hijacking off the Coast of Oman. The market might also be finding strength from news of violence in Iraq, as the absence of US troops may be adding to tensions in that nation. Projections of reduced Syrian oil production may also be seen as a positive factor for crude prices today. While crude oil is not expected to take much direction from second and third tier US economic data later this morning, the lack of updated news from Europe could make the US numbers more important.
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