NEW YORK, March 23 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices inched higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, topping $105 per barrel as fighting in Libya continued.
Oil traders are dealing with two heavyweight events pushing and pulling at prices simultaneously. Chaos in the Middle East, especially in Libya, is sending prices higher on the disruption of supplies. In Japan, however, a shutdown of many industries after the March 11 earthquake has diminished demand in the world's third-largest economy. In addition, the Japanese government has allowed oil companies to tap into national reserves as some parts of Japan are experiencing energy shortages.