Oil prices continued to sustain their recent surge in value as upbeat European and US industrial data reinforced optimism about economic and energy demand growth. So long as traders seek out higher yielding assets, commodities appear poised to gain ground.

Tensions spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa are no doubt feeding this price rise. Crude prices climbed to $99.91 a barrel yesterday, its highest settlement since September 2008, before rebounding back to $98.97 at the day's close. Industrial output in Europe accelerated in February helping to fuel a move by investors into commodity-link and higher-yielding currencies.