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Oil rose for a second day in New York on concern that tension in the Middle East threatens supplies. West Texas Intermediate oil gained as much as 0.8 percent, after posting the first weekly increase in three. Iran said crude will surge above $250 a barrel if nations threaten to ban its purchases, according to the Shargh newspaper.
Even verbal threats to block exports of Iranian oil will cause crude prices to increase, Ramin Mehmanparast, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Tehran-based Shargh in an interview published yesterday. Iran pumped 5 percent of the world’s oil last year, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
The European Union added 180 Iranian officials and companies to a blacklist on Dec. 1 to try to pressure the world’s third-largest crude exporter to curtail its nuclear program. The U.S., U.K. and Canada announced measures on Nov. 21 making it harder for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to receive payments for crude exports, though they stopped short of banning trade in Iranian oil.
Crude for January delivery climbed to $102.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent futures for January settlement rose 91 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $110.85 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract traded at a premium of $9.33 a barrel to the U.S.-traded West Texas Intermediate grade.
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