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Oil prices tick higher

Global oil prices rose as turmoil in Libya clouded expectations of a return of the country's crude supplies to the market.

NEW YORK: Global oil prices rose on Monday as turmoil in Libya clouded expectations of a return of the country's crude supplies to the market.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August finished the session at US$100.91 a barrel, a slight gain of eight cents from Friday's close.

Brent North Sea for delivery in August rose 32 cents to settle at US$106.98 a barrel in London trade.

Commerzbank analysts, in a research note, highlighted renewed protests in Libya and the closure of the oil terminal at Brega.

"According to the state-owned National Oil Corporation, there is a risk of oil production being shut down at an oilfield if the port blockade continues for any length of time," Commerzbank said.

Libya suspended all flights to and from its third city Misrata on Monday, a day after deadly clashes closed the country's main international airport in Tripoli and damaged several planes.

Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani declared earlier this month that authorities had regained control of two export terminals - Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra - blockaded by rebels demanding autonomy in the country's eastern region.

Crude futures had fallen heavily last week, stoked by the prospect of a revival in Libyan supplies.

Tim Evans of Citi Futures pointed Monday to price supports from renewed tensions in Ukraine, where the government says one of its military aircraft was likely shot down from Russia, and the "ongoing lack of a political and military challenge to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq."

Investors were also looking out for a slew of economic indicators due to be released this week, starting with inflation data from Europe and US retail sales on Tuesday.

China, the world's second biggest economy and the largest consumer of energy, will release gross domestic product and industrial production figures on Wednesday.

"The focus may turn to demand side of things as we have important data coming up, especially from China where the second-quarter GDP estimate and the latest industrial production number could help provide some clues about consumption," said analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

All eyes will be on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as she testifies to Congress Tuesday and Wednesday on the US economy and monetary policy.

Yellen's remarks and corporate earnings reports in the United States will be monitored for hints on the health of the world's biggest economy and top oil-consuming nation.

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