For the first time in four months, oil prices in the U.S. rose above the critical $100 per barrel threshold last Friday as markets began to respond to the latest round of asset purchases from the U.S. Federal Reserve, according to Bloomberg.
The spread between the two key benchmark oil prices – Brent crude in Europe and much of the rest of the world versus West Texas Intermediate crude in the U.S. – has grown markedly over the past few years, leaving American crude prices well below the rest of the world.
On Friday, though, WTI began to catch up as markets absorbed the announcement of QE3, the program under which the Fed will purchase as much as $40 billion in assets per month in an effort to encourage investment in the economy.
Though it ultimately closed up 0.7 percent at $99 per barrel, WTI crude peaked at $100.42 per barrel. Brent rose a comparable amount, gaining 0.67 percent to reach $116.66 per barrel by the end of trading.
Reuters reports that oil futures continue to receive support as well from tensions in the Middle East, where there have been a series of riots in response to a recent video portraying the prophet Muhammad.
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