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Strong regional equity markets, reopening of European airspace helped to boost prices
Oil climbed above $84/barrel in Asian trade today as European governments reopened their airspace to more flights following a shutdown caused by ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland, reports PTI.
Prices also had a boost from regional equity markets, which were buoyed by a rise in US stocks.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, jumped 36 cents to $84.21 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for June rose 47 cents to $85.27.
“Support could be coming from regional equity markets which appear to be doing okay so far today,” said David Moore, commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “There’s also been more flight activity in Europe which is seen to be helping oil prices.”
Planes took to Europe’s skies in greater numbers on Wednesday after the chaos caused by the Iceland volcano cloud.
Britain finally lifted a flight ban on its airspace late Tuesday, following Belgium, France and Germany and others in easing restrictions introduced after the Icelandic volcano spewed a huge dust cloud across the continent.
However, airlines face a huge challenge to shift the backlog of passengers that has built up.
Millions of people have been stranded across the globe since Europe began shutting down airspace on 14th April, and airline schedules are in disarray after a number of planes were grounded.
Asian stocks were also higher, lifted by Wall Street’s gains and solid earnings from Apple Corp.
Japanese shares were 1.54% higher by noon, with the headline Nikkei index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange finishing the morning session up 168.09 points at 11,068.77.
Hong Kong shares were 0.32% higher in early trading.