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Oil rose for the first time in four days as new sanctions against Iran and protests in Egypt raised concern that supplies will be disrupted.
Crude advanced as much as 1.8 percent after the U.S., the U.K. and Canada expanded measures aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear program. In Egypt, protesters gathered in Tahrir Square for a fifth day after deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators spurred the Cabinet to offer to quit.
The U.S., the U.K. and Canada targeted Iran’s central bank and oil industry yesterday with sanctions aimed at cutting the regime off from international financial transactions. The actions are in response to a Nov. 8 United Nations atomic agency report concluding that previous efforts have not stopped the regime from clandestine nuclear-bomb work.
The new sanctions target companies that provide goods or services to Iran’s oil and gas industries. Existing U.S. laws have forced most international oil companies out of Iran. The new measures aim to stop it from obtaining technology and money from smaller foreign companies.
Iran is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumping 4.25 million barrels a day last year, according to the BP Statistical Review. Saudi Arabia is the top producer.
Crude for January delivery gained to $98.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have increased 7.5 percent this year. Brent oil for January settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange increased $1.73, or 1.6 percent, to $108.61 a barrel.
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