Oil rose 2.5 percent on Monday to its highest price since mid-October, fueled by supply concerns as violence in the Middle East escalated and as investors grew more hopeful that a U.S. budget crisis will be averted.
Traders focused on the growing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel bombed dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday and said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire.
While previous Middle East wars have led to oil embargoes and temporary disruptions to energy supplies, analysts say it is unlikely the confrontation will spill out into a wider conflict in the region, which supplies a third of the world’s crude.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo on Monday to support ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Islamist-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas.