Speculation about the Libyan conflict stretching longer than anticipated and an uptick in economic growth in the U.S. pushed up oil futures to their top levels in two-and-a-half years, Bloomberg reports.
U.S. job growth in March was greater than economists' projections indicated, and the U.S. is the globe's largest consumer of crude oil. Concerns about Libya, the third-largest producer of oil in Africa, grew amidst reports that forces loyal to embattled strongman Muammar Gadhafi bombed targets in an oil field south of the city of Ajdabiya.
"It's becoming increasingly clear that the situation in Libya may be prolonged," Christopher Bellew, senior broker at Bache Commodities in London, told the news service. "The more one looks at uprisings in the Middle East, the more one realizes they will not be easy to resolve. At the same time, oil demand is relatively inelastic to higher prices."
Shortly prior to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Brent crude oil futures climbed 1.23 percent, a $1.46 increase to $120.16 per barrel.
Oil prices are up about 25 percent from one year ago and are at their highest since late September 2008.