Oil prices rise after protests spread to Libyan capital

Oil prices have risen by more than $2 a barrel in response to the unrest in Libya.

Prices reached a two-and-a-half year high as violent protests spread to the country's capital, Tripoli, and after reports that Libyan oilfield workers had gone on strike, stopping production.

An oil well

Production fears: Libya exports around 1.1m barrels of oil a day from the country


Libya exports around 1.1m barrels a day, and on Sunday a tribal leader threatened to cut the flow within 24 hours if a government crackdown on protestors continued.

Christophe Barret, an oil analyst at Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, said: 'Libya is a significant producer and exporter of good quality crude oil and threats by the tribal leader to stop production is worrisome.'

The price of Brent crude stood at $104.52 a barrel, after surging to as much $105.08.

On Friday, the price reached $102.52, its fourth weekly rise.

Gold prices also reached their highest levels in seven weeks as turmoil in the Middle East boosted the metal's standing as a safe haven asset.

Daniel Major, an analyst at RBS Global Banking & Markets, said: 'There is no doubt that the recent move higher across the precious metals reflects a degree of safe-haven buying as a result of the unrest in the Middle East.'