Oil prices rose this morning as Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, increasing fears of supply disruption.

Brent crude gained 59¢ to stand at $113.65 a barrel, and US crude rose 11¢ at $101.67 a barrel.

European retail sales dropped by 0.8% in November while the number of unemployed rose for the seventh consecutive month, but dept woes in the region were overshadowed by disruptions in Iran, reports Reuters.

To limit the impact of any blockade in the Strait of Hormuz, the International Energy Agency could release up to 14 million barrels per day of government-owned oil stored in the US, Europe, Japan and other importers.

The sanctions were called by the US and the EU to dissuade Iran from its planned nuclear programme.