Oil prices are hitting a two week high due to strong Asian equity markets and concern of mounting tensions in the Middle East, including attacks by Turkey on Kurdish-held Syria over the past month and Israel threatening unilateral attacks on Iran.
Tetsu Emori, CEO of Emori Capital Management in Tokyo says that "Oil got mild support from gains in Asian equity markets." He adds that the increase in U.S. oil production has also increased barrel prices. The "rise in U.S. rig count and a slight recovery in the dollar," has boosted expectations of production and crude prices. The number of U.S. offshore rigs increased by seven, making the 798 rigs count the highest in nearly three years.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March is up 74 cents, to $62.42 a barrel, and London Brent crude is up 46 cents to $65.30 currently.
Analysts say this trend will continue.
Though U.S. production is increasing, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is holding back production allowing barrel prices to rise. Russia is planning to curb production by 1.8 million barrels per day until the year's end.
Forecasters say that U.S. shale oil production may stabilize barrel prices this year.