The price of oil rose above $103 a barrel Tuesday on persisting jitters over the situation in Gaza and the standoff over the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.
U.S. benchmark crude for September delivery was up 21 cents to $103.06 a barrel at 0615 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 91 cents to $102.86 on Monday. The August contract, which expires Tuesday, was up 41 cents at $105.00 a barrel.
Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, gained 3 cents to $107.71 on the ICE exchange in London.
Israel bombed five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the late Hamas military chief across the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Cairo to launch the highest-level push yet to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting. The clashes have claimed at least 570 Palestinian and 29 Israeli lives.
The fighting has added to the risk of instability in the oil-rich Middle East just as tensions have intensified between the West and Russia, a major oil producer, over the Ukraine crisis.
European leaders are considering tougher sanctions against Russia for its backing of separatists accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airways passenger plane in Ukraine last week. The European Union’s foreign ministers will meet Tuesday to discuss their next steps.
An agreement by the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine to release a trainload of bodies from the crash offered hopes for progress in investigating the disaster, which killed 298 people.
In other Nymex trading:
– Wholesale gasoline rose 0.5 cent to $2.868 a gallon.
– Heating oil gained 0.3 cent to $2.874 a gallon.
– Natural gas was down 0.4 cent at $3.845 per 1,000 cubic feet.