Iran tension keeps oil market on edge
LONDON, Reuters (Reuters) -- Oil pulled back below $64 on Thursday from its highest close in over six months, but investors were on edge that tension between Iran and the West could pose a threat to shipments from the Gulf.
伦敦 路透社 (路透社) -- 星期四石油以低于64美元的价格收盘，创下了6个月以来的最高价。但是投资者仍对目前的局势感到担心，伊朗和西方世界之间的紧张局势已经对海湾地区的石油运输造成了威胁。
Iran, the world's fourth biggest oil exporter, has held 15 British sailors and marines since Friday and was hit with new U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program last weekend. The United States has been conducting naval exercises in the Gulf.
U.S. crude was down 32 cents at $63.76 a barrel, after closing above $64 for the first time since September 11. London Brent shed nine cents to $65.69.
"Tensions are increasing between the main protagonists and they will persist even if the sailors are released," said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix in Switzerland.
"The current state of tension between the U.S. and Iran makes it probable that there will be other incidents and strategic plays until the next UN sanction review in 60 days."
Oil prices briefly spiked above $68 late on Tuesday on rumors of a clash between U.S. or British forces and Iran. London and Washington denied any confrontation.
So far there has been no disruption to Iran's daily oil shipments of around 2.2 million barrels.
Iran borders the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for roughly two-fifths of all globally traded oil.
OPEC's secretary-general said on Wednesday there was no need for the group to pump more as the price gains were due to political tensions, not a shortage of supply.
With geopolitical factors at the fore, oil traders shrugged off economic anxieties. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook had increased.
由于地缘政治因素在油价上涨扮演主要角色，石油商们都不对经济前景抱有太大的担心。联邦储备 Ben Bernanke说目前就说美国经济前景进一步看好是不确切的。
A strike by workers at the French Mediterranean oil terminal Fos-Lavera, entering its third week, has begun to hit refinery output and raised concerns over Europe's ability to export fuel to the United States.
Technical analysts at Barclays Capital said oil would find it tough to break through $70, for the time being at least. U.S. crude hit a record $78.40 last July.
"All signs warn that oil will struggle to make headway above $70 first time around and at the very least a period of consolidation is needed," they wrote in a report.
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