Oil prices rebound above $103 on geopolitical risk

Associated PressJuly 18, 2014 

— Oil prices rebounded slightly on Monday as traders gauged the possibility of more sanctions against Russia and more violence in Libya.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was up 45 cents to $103.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract fell 6 cents to $103.13.

Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, was down 3 cents to $176.21 on the ICE exchange in London.

Washington announced new sanctions last Wednesday on Russia, including its biggest oil company, over Moscow's support for separatist forces in Ukraine.

On Thursday, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down in Ukraine, raising concern a possible Western response might disrupt Russian oil exports, but those fears have eased.

"It would appear that the majority of market participants still do not expect the West to impose the kind of tougher sanctions on Russia that would also affect Russian energy shipments," said a note to clients from analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

In other areas, however, risks seemed to be mounting as the third Gaza War intensified and in Libya, which has seen a rise in oil exports in the past weeks as activity returned to some of its oilfields and ports, clashes between rival factions killed 47 people and 120 wounded over the past day.

In other Nymex trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 1.55 cents to $2.8504 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 6.4 cents to $3.887 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 0.82 cent to $2.8656 a gallon.

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