Oil hits highest in nearly two weeks on Asian equity recovery

Oil hits highest in nearly two weeks on Asian equity recovery

Tokyo, Feb 19: Oil prices extended gains to hit their highest level in nearly two weeks on Monday, buoyed as Asian shares joined a global recovery in equity markets and as worries grew over tensions in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.
US West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 73 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $62.41 a barrel by 0600 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since Feb. 7.
London Brent crude was up 52 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $65.36, after rising more than 3 percent last week.
“The upside momentum since WTI hit last week’s low of $58 has been continuing,” said Tetsu Emori, CEO of Emori Capital Management in Tokyo.
“Oil got mild support from gains in Asian equity markets, but has been getting pressure from the rise in U. S. rig count and a slight recovery in the dollar.”
Trading is expected to be slower than usual due market holidays in the United States as well as Greater China.
The US oil rig count, an indicator of future production, rose by seven to 798, its highest since April 2015, according to a weekly report from General Electric’s Baker Hughes unit.
That marked the first time since June that drillers added rigs for four consecutive weeks, and the figure was well up on the 597 rigs that were active a year earlier as energy companies have boosted spending since mid-2016 when crude prices began recovering from a two-year crash.