Oil prices rise before ECB rate call
Crude oil prices rose on Thursday, supported by expectations of a cut to eurozone interest rates by the European Central Bank, ahead of a crucial EU summit on the debt crisis.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, climbed 52 cents to $101.01 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for January gained 83 cents to $110.36 in London midday deals.
"Expectations of an ECB rate cut of 25-50 basis points are underpinning the gains" for crude oil, said Sucden Financial Research analyst Jack Pollard.
"The potential for downside, however, remains significant and it seems that, in the absence of any material European (summit) developments, crude prices will hold in a narrow range before tomorrow.
Investors are concerned that a two-day summit beginning on Thursday to save the eurozone may fail to deliver a knockout blow to the region's sovereign debt crisis.
The ECB was meanwhile widely expected to cut its key interest rate at its meeting on Thursday, in view of a looming economic downturn, and markets were waiting to see what other action the central bank takes to shore up the euro.
© 2011 AFP