Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Oil tests $107 a barrel, then falls back

oil pricesClick chart for more oil and other commodity prices By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices closed 1% higher, as the violence in Libya continues to unsettle the market.

The benchmark U.S. contract, West Texas Intermediate, for April delivery gained $1.03, or 1%, to settle at $105.44 a barrel. The contract rose to a high of $106.95 a barrel earlier in the session.

However brent crude, the main European contract, fell 77 cents to $115.18 a barrel.

Oil prices rose nearly 7% last week as fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi escalated. The weeks-long conflict showed no sign of abating Monday, with death toll estimates now ranging from more than 1,000 to as many as 2,000.

The International Energy Agency estimated Friday that roughly 1 million barrels per day of Libyan oil have been taken off the world market so far, even as some crude shipments have resumed. Libya exported 1.6 million barrels per day in 2010.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have pledged to increase production to make up for any lost oil due to unrest in Libya.

But many investors are concerned that the anti-government movement that toppled long-standing governments in Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year could destabilize oil-rich nations in the Middle East. That could further disrupt the supply of crude oil to the world market.

Tom Pawlicki, an energy analyst at MF Global, said in a research report that oil prices could get a boost ahead of a "day of rage" protest scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

In Washington, meanwhile, there is increasing talk about accessing the nation's strategic petroleum reserves.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told lawmakers Thursday that the U.S. and other nations are prepared to tap back-up oil reserves if Libya unrest continues and severely disrupts oil supplies. However, no official decision has been made.

Despite the supply concerns, many analysts point out that crude stockpiles in the United States and elsewhere remain relatively flush, suggesting that the recent rally in oil prices is driven by speculation.

-- The CNN Wire Service contributed to this report.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.99%4.02%
15 yr fixed3.18%3.16%
5/1 ARM3.40%3.38%
30 yr refi4.01%4.07%
15 yr refi3.20%3.19%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 19,170.42 -21.51 -0.11%
Nasdaq 5,255.65 4.55 0.09%
S&P 500 2,191.95 0.87 0.04%
Treasuries 2.39 -0.05 -2.09%
Data as of 5:27pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 21.23 -0.27 -1.26%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 7.23 0.18 2.55%
Ford Motor Co 12.24 -0.19 -1.53%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 15.42 0.39 2.59%
Cisco Systems Inc 29.25 -0.20 -0.68%
Data as of Dec 2

Sections

Increased health coverage through Obamacare and greater use of health care services accounted for the nearly 6% rise of national health spending in 2015, which approached $10,000 per person. More

Facebook admits it messed up more ad metrics than previously thought, potentially eroding its trust and relationship with marketers and publishers. More