Libyan clashes hit stocks as oil prices surge

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 21, 2011 14:18
1 minute read.

 
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LONDON  — Fears that Libya is heading toward civil war weighed on stocks Monday and pushed oil prices sharply higher.

With reports suggesting that over 200 people have been killed in clashes across the country, which have spread to the capital of Tripoli, investors were getting increasingly worried about the escalating violence in one of Africa's biggest oil producers.

Those concerns were heightened by a statement from Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. Blaming everyone from drug addicts to the media for the current turmoil afflicting Libya, he warned that civil war was a real possibility and that his father would fight until "the last bullet."

The oil markets have been the main point of interest, especially as Libya accounts for a chunk of the world's oil supplies at a little under 2 percent of global output.

With BP saying it is "very likely" to evacuate employees in the coming days and investors wondering which oil producing country may be next to face the wrath of its people, oil prices have spiked sharply higher. Benchmark crude for March delivery was up $2.17 at $88.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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