Oil prices remained positive today, mainly due to supply concerns rising from escalating tensions in the Middle East, while balanced apprehensions about moderating demand growth kept prices under pressure.

Brent crude rose by 22 cents to $105.02 per barrel, while US crude increased by 19 cents to $96.90, reported Reuters.

In Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas were involved in violent fighting for Syria’s beleaguered president Bashar al-Assad, who said that the civil war might spread to neighbouring oil producers.

Prices also received some support after the dollar declined against a basket of currencies, while investors are expecting that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will give information about tapering US bond purchases when he testifies to Congress on Wednesday.

"Analysts have reduced their forecast for economic growth in China."

A survey conducted by Reuters showed that initial estimates of Purchasing Managers’ Indexes (PMIs), which will be released this week for China, the eurozone and the US, will not be able to drive out apprehensions of a weak global outlook.

Analysts have reduced their forecast for economic growth in China, mainly as a result of weak credit expansion and credit growth.

In another poll by Reuters, it has been found that US inventory data, which is slated to be released on Tuesday, is anticipated to support oil prices if the numbers meet expectations for a 400,000-barrel fall in US commercial crude oil stockpiles on higher refinery activity and lower imports.

Image: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas were involved in fierce fighting for Syria’s embattled president Bashar al-Assad. Photo courtesy of Voice of America News.