Brent Pushes Past $112
Brent crude oil settled at $112.87 at 5:00 GMT on Wednesday morning after rallying to a new three month high on Tuesday following the release of strong economic data. The commodity was also buoyed by continuing problems in Libya, raising concerns about supply
US factory activity data came in better than expected and gave crude prices a lift on Monday. CNBC reported that the nation's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in two and a half years in November.
The report came shortly after data showed that manufacturing growth in China was also on the rise. With the world's top two oil consumers recovering steadily, many expected to see an increase in demand.
Brent prices were also elevated as investors monitored the ongoing protests in Libya where most of the nation's oilfields have been shut down due to labor disputes. Although conditions in the nation have not improved, Libyan Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak gave an interview on Monday in which he said production had risen m over the past two weeks. However, the nation is still exporting less than half of its normal 1.4 million barrels per day.
Moving forward, investors will be focused on US data and clues from the US Federal Reserve about its taper timeline. Although positive data from the US supports Brent prices, it could also pull them the other way. Improving US data could strengthen the case for the Fed to taper, which would put pressure on commodity prices. In the Fed's latest meeting minutes, several of the bank's members expressed a willingness to taper if economic indicators warranted it.
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