RTTNews - Crude oil climbed above the $59 a barrel mark on Monday as violence in Africa fueled supply concerns. Meanwhile, a rise in global equities has boosted struggling demand.

Light sweet crude for June delivery finished at $59.03, up $2.69 for the session. Prices rallied as high as $59.33 earlier in the day.

Violence continued in Nigeria between the government and rebels, causing concerns over supplies. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has said threatened to block waterways used to transport crude exports.

Meanwhile, a fire was contained at a Sunoco (SUN) refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa., near the Delaware border, on Monday following an explosion on Sunday night. Sunoco said it will look to boost production at other refineries in the region.

On the economic front Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders said its index of sentiment rose in May to a level of 16. This was up from the mark of 14 recorded for April and represented its highest reading since last September.

Oil prices fell late last week amid further demand concerns. The International Energy Agency, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Energy Department all cut demand forecasts last week.

Oil finished the volatile week down $2.29 after soaring 10% in the prior week. Prices had been trending lower after reaching as high as $60.08 on Tuesday.

Oil traders also looked ahead to Wednesday's Energy Information Administration inventory report. Last week's report showed crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels in the week ended May 8. Gasoline stocks decreased by 4.1 million barrels last week.

Gasoline prices have jumped to $2.311 for a regular unleaded gallon, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge. This is above the $2.055 from a month ago but still well-below last year's levels of near $3.80.

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