Investing.com - Crude futures rose on Tuesday after skirmishes between Ukraine and separatists escalated and stoked fears of an outright civil war, which could affect oil shipments from neighboring Russia, the world''s second-largest exporter after Saudi Arabia.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in June traded at $100.03 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 0.55%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $99.33 a barrel and a high of $100.42 a barrel.
The June contract settled down 0.28% at $99.48 a barrel on Monday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $98.75 a barrel, Thursday''s low, and resistance at $100.59 a barrel, the high from April 30.
Oil prices found support on clashes between Ukraine''s army and pro-Russian forces raging in six eastern Ukraine cities over the weekend, sparking fears that the crisis will develop and drag the U.S. deeper into the standoff.
Pro-Russia rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter outside the eastern town of Slaviansk, while Ukraine dispatched police special forces to the port city of Odessa to halt the rebellion spreading westward.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with further sanctions on Sunday unless the country stopped backing separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russia produced 10.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2012 and exported 7.4 million, making it the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.
Growing doubts that a recent deal between Libya and rebels to reopen oil ports bolstered prices as well, though sentiments that the U.S. is awash in crude capped gains.
Lackluster trade data out of the U.S. watered down oil prices as well.
Data revealed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $40.38 billion in March from $41.87 billion in February, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of $42.30 billion. Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to $40.30 billion in March, and the lackluster data softened the dollar.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for June delivery were down 1.17% due to profit taking, trading at US$107.32 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.29 a barrel.
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