Markets: Oil rises towards $72

Oil prices rose back towards the $72 a barrel mark on Friday, with bullish sentiment bolstered by yesterday’s improved US economic data and continued supply concerns in Nigeria.

Oil futures, which many investors have been purchasing to gain exposure to a recovery in global economic activity, ticked upwards yesterday after an influential business activity index from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve posted its highest reading since before the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers sent shock waves through global markets last September.

Attacks on pipelines by militants in Opec member Nigeria, through not widely seen as market moving news, helped to provide a reminder to energy traders of political risk factors alongside the ongoing election dispute in Iran.

Nymex July West Texas Intermediate oil, the US benchmark, rose 68 cents to $72.05, while the August contract rose 72 cents to $72.63. ICE August Brent, its European equivalent, gained 74 cents at $71.80.

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