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Oil rises towards $92 ahead of EU meeting

26 June 2012, 11:35

London - Oil climbed to 92 dollars per barrel on Tuesday as the prospect of a meeting of European leaders would fail to resolve the region's debt crisis.

The two-day summit in Brussels later this week will be the 20th time EU leaders have met to sort out a crisis that spread across Europe since it began in Greece in early 2010.

The appetite for riskier assets is expected to stay low as the debt crisis grinds on in the euro zone, where Cyprus became the fifth country to seek emergency funding for its troubled banks.

Brent crude rose 73 cents to 91.74 dollars a barrel after reaching a session high of 92 dollars. U.S. crude climbed 27 cents to 79.48 dollars.

"Markets appear to be in risk-off mode, pricing in for disappointment ahead of the EU summit," ANZ analysts led by Mark Pervan said in a note.

"We think any progress could result in a commodity market rally, particularly in oil prices."

Oil prices are expected to be underpinned by forecasts for a 700,000-barrel drop in U.S. crude oil stockpiles last week and supply disruptions in Norway and Argentina due to labour strikes.

Worries about production from the Gulf of Mexico due to a storm threat had boosted oil prices in the previous session, but these concerns have eased with Tropical Storm Debby headed away from energy infrastructure in the basin.

Higher output by OPEC, in particular Saudi Arabia, has also muted the impact of imminent sanctions on Iran oil exports.

EU governments on Monday formally approved an embargo on Iranian oil to start on July 1, dismissing calls by debt-ridden Greece for possible exemptions to help ease its economic crisis.

The impact of the EU sanctions is also being felt in Asia.

South Korea, a major consumer of Iranian crude, has called a halt to imports from July 1 due to a European Union ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil.

The embargo comes as part of a series of measures designed to put pressure on Iran to halt what the U.S. and others say is a nuclear weapons programme. 

- Reuters


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