NEW YORK, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices climbed Wednesday as traders were concerned about the potential of disruption of supplies passing through Ukraine and more sanctions on Russia.
Militants have seized government buildings in several cities in east Ukraine. The uncertainties of Ukraine pose a big threat to the oil market.
Russia is a crucial supplier of oil and natural gas to Europe, with more than 70 percent of its crude and gas exports to Europe passing through Ukraine. Russia produced more than 10 million barrels crude a day in January, and is the second-largest producer of natural gas.
Oil prices rose despite a market benchmark report of surging U. S. crude supplies. The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories increased 4 million barrels to 384.1 million barrels last week.
Meanwhile, fuel inventories decreased to 210.4 million barrels last week. The drop is helping the overall market as it signaled gasoline demand is picking up.
Crude prices also got some support from the equity market. U.S. stocks continued to regain steam Wednesday, as aluminum giant Alcoa's better-than-expected profit boosted market sentiment.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose 1.04 U.S. dollars to settle at 103.6 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery gained 32 cents to close at 107.98 dollars a barrel.