Oil market speculators used the escalating conflict in Libya as an excuse to jack up crude prices to $106 per barrel today. Crude oil prices rose on news opposition forces and soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi clashed near some of the country’s key energy infrastructure.
Benchmark crude for April delivery was up $2.25 to $106.67 a barrel by early afternoon in Europe. The price increase is the highest since September 2008, according to the Associated Press. In London, Brent crude for April delivery was up $1.80 to $117.77 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Asian stocks and currencies also fell on news of rising violence in the Middle East. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.1 percent to 137.83 as of 3:32 p.m. in Tokyo, led by a 1.8 percent drop in Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average.