The Associated Press — Today in Asian (Singapore) oil prices jumped to fresh 30-month highs above $108 a barrel. As signs of abolstered investor optimism that global crude demand will strengthen. Benchmark crude for April delivery in Singapore was up 30 cents at $108.24 a barrel at midday time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday the contract rose $1.22 to settle at $107.94. London’s Brent crude for April delivery was up 21 cents to $118.91 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. The U.S. said Friday its economy added 216,000 new jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent, boosting trader confidence that more workers will help fuel consumer spending. Investors are also closely watching Libya, where a standoff is developing as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi control most of the western half of the OPEC nation while rebels have seized most of the eastern coast. On Sunday, a Gadhafi envoy told Greece’s prime minister that the Libyan leader was seeking a solution to his country’s crisis two weeks after his government’s attacks to put down a rebellion drew international airstrikes. Some analysts say oil prices — which have jumped about 29 percent since Feb. Most likely 15- will begin to fall unless the U.S. announces a major new program to provide cheap money or violent protests spread in the Middle East and North Africa. “For prices to continue their ascent, a new event or exacerbation of existing events will be necessary,” said Richard Soultanian of NUS Consulting. “Should this come to pass, we believe prices will spike. “In other Nymex trading in April contracts, heating oil rose 1.0 cent to $3.14 a gallon and gasoline added 1.1 cents to $3.16 a gallon. Natural gas futures were down 5.3 cents at $4.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.
By Sirna Harris