File art PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil rose above $106 a barrel Tuesday after a U.S. official said there was strong evidence that Syria used chemical weapons against civilians, a sign that Washington might be considering a military strike against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
U.S. benchmark crude for October delivery was up 34 cents to $106.26 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 50 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $105.92 on Monday.
The price of oil has risen about 15 percent in the past three months on concern that unrest in Egypt and civil war in Syria could disrupt production and exports, especially in Libya and Iraq. It has also raised the specter of spreading violence that could block important supply routes.
Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to be making a case for an aggressive response to the Syrian conflict on Monday when he said there “undeniable” evidence of a deadly gas attack in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of people.
Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia, said prices were rising due to the potential for international intervention in Syria.
“The more we hear about this, the more gas and oil will be the places to watch,” Lucas said.
Brent crude, which sets prices for imported oil used by many U.S. refineries, rose 48 cents to $111.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Heating oil rose 0.4 cent to $3.088 per gallon.
— Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to $3.498 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.3 cent to $2.838 per gallon.