Brent crude held steady around $112 a barrel on Wednesday, supported by fears of possible supply disruptions from Iran and upbeat economic data from the US and China.Oil prices surged on the first day of trading in 2012, after Brent posted a 13% gain last year, as Iran threatened to choke off crude shipments through the strategic Strait of Hormuz in retaliation against tougher sanctions from the West over its nuclear programme.
Brent crude fell 33 cents to $111.8 barrel, after rising more than 4% on Tuesday to its highest since November 15. US February crude was down 39 cents to $102.6 a barrel, following the highest close since May 10.
“The market typically starts the year bullish,” said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale.
“The New Year optimism and positive data will be supportive probably until the end of the month, but the reality of the debt overhang in the financial markets is going to weigh on economic growth,” he said.