Crude oil futures rose to US$78 per barrel on the Nymex on encouraging signs of an economic recovery, a cold wave and unrest in Russia and Iran. Climbing by over 75% this year so far, crude oil is estimated to peak past US$80 by year end. After rising for four consecutive days, the price of oil is at a four-week high amid signs of strengthening economic activity that include indicators such as US retail spending during the holiday season that was up 3.6% from a year earlier.
Tensions over oil pipeline negotiations are underway between Russia and the Ukraine. Last year, when the pipeline was shut down, oil prices spiked by about $14 a barrel in just a few days.
Russia has also warned the European Union of plans to cut its crude oil supplies because of a demand from Ukraine, located between Russia and the EU, for higher fees to transport oil through its territory.