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Oil edges up amid geopolitical, EU debt concerns

12-20-2011 09:45 BJT

NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices edged up on Monday amid concerns over geopolitical uncertainty and the lingering European Union debt crisis.

Investors feared rising tension following the death of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s top leader Kim Jong Il, which, coupled with concerns over Iran's nuclear program, helped support crude prices. But meanwhile, the U.S. dollar also moved higher, weighing on dollar-denominated crude prices.

EU finance ministers agreed late Monday on a 150-billion-euro ( about 195 billion U.S. dollars) contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help out debt-burdened eurozone countries. However, Britain made it clear it would not participate in the plan, making it unlikely to raise up to 200 billion euros.

On the economic front, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose two points in December to 21 for its best reading since last May, pointing to an uptick in home construction and increased use of diesel-burning equipment.

But crude prices traded with volatility in thin volumes. Analysts said it was natural for thin volumes ahead of the year- end holiday. And in view of the lingering European debt crisis, investors worried a slowing-down world economy would hurt oil demand. Continuing debt woes weighed on crude and limited the gains.

Light, sweet crude for January delivery edged up 35 cents, or 0. 37 percent to settle at 93.88 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for February delivery also rose moderately by 29 cents, or 0.28 percent to close at 103. 64 dollars a barrel.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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