Iran shoots down U.S. spy drone, global oil investments edge higher

Crude oil prices gained more ground on the commodity index today, surging past the $101 per barrel mark in Asian trading on continually improving economic reports from the U.S. The rapidly escalating tensions between Iran and the West also contributed to the rise of oil investments.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices for delivery in January gained 50 cents to settle at $101.46 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. contract rose more than 4% over the past week on numerous reports indicating that retail sales and the industrial output in the nation was on the rise.

In London, Brent crude oil futures rose 58 cents to $110.52 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. The European contract is still being affected by the lingering debt crisis in the euro zone.

Oil investments hang in commodity limbo, as the traders of the fuel and economist are closely monitoring the development of the situation in Iran. The prolific OPEC nation has been fervently opposing the repeated sanctions the West has imposed on its trading. Most recently, the U.S. Senate has voted late last week to ban any foreign financial institution in talks with Iran’s central bank from operation in the U.S.

Tensions between the two countries rose to a new level over the weekend, when Iran’s military shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone, aimed to report on the nation’s nuclear program. The spy plane was circulating Iran’s aerospace near the Afghan and Pakistani borders. Officials from the U.S. are yet to comment on or confirm the incident.

Though the U.S. relies primarily on Canada to sate its energy needs, Iran’s crude product is a crucial commodity for Europe, and the rapidly rising anxiety over Tehran’s nuclear program have placed a question mark on the path global oil investments will take if the situation reaches violent levels.

Crude oil futures were supported within the U.S., when the nation’s Labour Department added 120,000 jobs over the past month. Jobless rates in the U.S. are down 0.4% to 8.6%.