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Oil prices rise to highest levels in 7 years amid supply pressures in Ukraine, Middle East

Oil prices rise to highest levels in 7 years amid supply pressures in Ukraine, Middle East
A trader wears a protective face mask when he works on the floor of the NYSE at the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City on Friday, March 20, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Benchmark oil prices climbed to their highest level in seven years on Tuesday amid disruptions to supplies caused by COVID-19 and attacks in the Middle East.

The price for Brent crude rose by 1.6% to nearly $88 per barrel, its highest mark since late 2014. The price for the U.S. crude benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, was up more than 2% to over $85 per barrel.

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"Oil prices continue to trend higher," ING analysts Warren Patterson and Wenyu Yao said in a Sunday, according to S&P Global.

"Concerns over tightness in the oil market continues to support prices, although the market appears to be ignoring several developments in recent days."

Ongoing military tensions between Russia and Ukraine and security concerns over attacks in the Middle East have helped to push prices higher.

On Monday, Houthi rebels attacked the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, killing three people. The Iran-backed Houthis have waged a civil war in Yemen for years against the Saudi- and UAE-supported Yemeni government.

Analysts say the higher prices may prompt the world's leading oil-producing countries to take action to bring prices back in line.

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