London, Aug 13 (AFP) Crude prices were mixed today, with Brent hitting a three-month high on tight supply concerns, and New York oil down amid hopes of added stimulus to boost global economic growth, traders said. Brent crude reached USD 115.11 a barrel to reach the highest level since early May. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September later stood at USD 113.57 in late London deals, up 62 cents compared with Friday's close. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for September, fell 36 cents to USD 92.51 after gaining earlier in the day.
"As the new week begins, Brent has risen to a three-month high," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch. "Driving the price upwards are still the risks to supply such as the decline in North Sea production (due to maintenance) and the tensions in the Near and Middle East." A collision Sunday between a US guided-missile destroyer and a Japanese-owned oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway rattled nerves among investors concerned over potential supply disruptions. Around one fifth of the world's traded oil passes through the narrow strait, which connects the oil-rich Gulf to the Indian Ocean. Tension spiked in the area earlier this year as Iran threatened to block the waterway in retaliation for a Western boycott of its oil exports. Traders today added that crude was winning support from hopes of further cash stimulus to boost the global economy.
The European Central Bank is also expected to restart its bond-buying scheme to support under-pressure economies such as Spain and Italy. In the US, investors are expecting the Federal Reserve to unveil its own drive to pump cash into the economy, while poor trade figures from China last week increased the likelihood Beijing will also intervene to kickstart growth. (AFP)