Crude Nears $80 a Barrel

21 February 2010 (Last Updated February 21st, 2010 18:30)

Oil held just under $80 a barrel today as the dollar fell while investors reassessed the prospect of an earlier-than-expected US interest rate rise. An extended oil refinery strike in France, a report of rising crude oil processing in China in January and tensions over Iran's nuclear p

Oil held just under $80 a barrel today as the dollar fell while investors reassessed the prospect of an earlier-than-expected US interest rate rise.

An extended oil refinery strike in France, a report of rising crude oil processing in China in January and tensions over Iran's nuclear programme also supported prices, according to Reuters.

US crude for March delivery rose 7¢ to $79.88 a barrel by 0951 GMT. It had previously reached $80.51, the highest since 13 January. Brent crude rose 9¢ to $78.28 a barrel, reports Reuters.

Workers at Total's French refineries continued their strike action, raising concerns about fuel supplies in the coming days. The French government pledged to prevent any oil supply problems in the country.

Oil prices rose 7.7% on the week, their largest single-week percentage gain since October, thanks to a combination of positive economic data and growing tensions over sanctions against Iran, reports Reuters.