Crude futures rose today due to mounting tensions in Ukraine, which kept the geopolitical risk premium on the commodity unharmed.

Brent crude was up by seven cents to $109.67 a barrel, while US oil gained 45 cents to settle at $104.21 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The Ukrainian Government forces and separatist pro-Russian militia staged rival shows of force in eastern Ukraine on the eve of crucial discussion on the former Soviet state’s future.

In addition, six of Ukraine’s armoured vehicles were reported to have been captured by Russian supporters.

Oil prices were underpinned by an upbeat view on US and Chinese demand.

The increase in US industrial output for March suggested the economy is gaining positive momentum, while Chinese economic data revealed a 7.4% growth in the first quarter of 2014.

"Oil prices were underpinned by an upbeat view on US and Chinese demand."

The US central bank has kept its key rate near zero since the depths of the financial crisis in late 2008, and has bought more than $3tn in assets to help depress borrowing costs and stimulate economic growth amid a slow recovery.

However, rising oil stockpiles in the US have weighed on benchmark prices and restricted further growth, as production hit the highest level in more than a quarter of a century, and imports continued to rise.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data, crude oil stocks rose by ten million barrels to 394 million barrels in the week ending 11 April, with a 5.2 million barrel build on the Gulf Coast.

Image: Oil prices increase despite a sharp spike in US crude stockpiles last week. Photo: courtesy of hin255.