Libyan air strikes and Yemen riot hit oil price

Marion Dakers
OIL prices continued their upward trajectory yesterday as Libya endured bombings from both Gaddafi loyalists and the UN-mandated military push to enforce a no-fly zone.

Muammar Gaddafi’s forces attacked the cities of Misrata and Zintan yesterday, killing dozens, as the dictator attempted to retake rebel strongholds in the west of the country.

Gaddafi made a public appearance at his compound in Tripoli late last night, in which he vowed to fight on.

He said on Libyan state TV that his supporters are “ready for battle, be it long or short”.

Allied planes entered their fourth night of air strikes yesterday, and the UK Ministry of Defence said the eastern city of Benghazi is being successfully protected from further attack.

A US figher jet crashed due to a technical fault on Monday, the American air force confirmed yesterday, but denied that civilians were shot in the subsequent rescue mission.

NATO could soon take the lead in the campaign after US President Barack Obama gained support from the UK and France in his efforts to get other nations to take charge.

Brent crude spot prices rose 0.5 per cent to $115.95 (£70.81) a barrel yesterday, while futures for May delivery rose 0.6 per cent to $115.70.

Libya, a member of the OPEC oil cartel, has already cut its oil production by an estimated 75 per cent to below 400,000 barrels a day.

In Yemen, widespread civil unrest threatened to unseat president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who warned that the country would slide into civil war if he stepped down.

The UN human rights office yesterday voiced “deep concerns”?about the excessive use of force against protestors in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

The Egyptian stock market is expected to fall sharply this morning when it opens for the first time in seven weeks, following a successful referendum to change the nation’s constitution.