Oil prices increased today because of a decline in US crude inventories and supply concerns from the Middle East and north Africa.

Brent crude gained by 33 cents to reach $110.53 a barrel, while US oil was up by 27 cents to reach $107.12 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The weekly report for US crude inventories showed a 2.8 million barrel decline, with stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, sliding for a sixth straight week to hit a 17-month low.

Following clashes between riot police and supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, The Egyptian Government declared a month-long national emergency, which fuelled fears among investors that unrest could choke supply routes, such as the Suez Canal, or spill over into key oil producing nations.

Libya’s oil production declined to 600,000 barrels a day as a result of field problems and port shutdowns.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) member nations could not guarantee crude export plans for September, as unsettled labour unrest at its terminals have disrupted operations.

Image: Supply concerns from the Middle East and north Africa underpin oil prices. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.