Crude oil prices up as unrest continues in Iran, Syria

U.S. crude oil prices gained ground on the commodity index today, posting their first prolonged increases in more than four days, as traders flocked around the news that the U.S. has brought up new sanctions against Iran and its nuclear program. The sanctions, which target Iran’s financial and oil sectors have brought more turmoil to the increasingly unstable Middle East, causing investors to speculate that the resulting fragmented exports out of OPEC will continue bolstering current crude oil prices on the charts.

Crude oil price charts were also boosted by the euro advancing against the greenback on the currency index, after an announcement from the International Monetary Fund promising more favourable lending plans to nations with sound austerity policies facing economical blowback from the European debt crisis.

Crude traders shrugged off reports that the U.S. economic growth reported worse than initially projected numbers for its third quarter, instead concentrating on the fact that the figures, low as they are, are the best showing from the U.S. GDP in more than a year. Analysts have explained the mildly disappointing reports by stating that the slower growth pace was simply due to companies selling off stock in order to accommodate rising demand, and that the nation would recover in the fourth quarter when restocking measures would commence.

Continued geo-political tensions in Syria and Egypt also kept crude investors anxious. The hostilities in the OPEC nations have been strongly affecting the crude oil price history in recent months.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices for delivery in January gained $1.09 to settle at $98.01 per barrel. The American contract rose as high as $98.70 during intraday trading before falling back on euro zone worries.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent crude oil futures for January settlement rose $2.15 to end the day at $109.03 per barrel. The European contract profited immensely from the growing tensions in OPEC’s territory. The spread between the two commodity oils now sits at $11.02 per barrel.