The price of oil inched further above $102 a barrel Wednesday amid a new push for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and after Europe imposed additional sanctions on Russia that fell short of a heavy hit.
By early afternoon in Europe, the benchmark U.S. oil contract for September delivery was up 20 cents to $102.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract slipped 47 cents.
Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, was up 43 cents to $107.76 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
The price of oil has stayed above $100 a barrel after a civilian jetliner was shot out of the sky last week over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists and as Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip added to risks of instability in the Middle East.
Still, prices have been fluctuating within a relatively narrow band in the past few days, as "sentiment on the oil market is relaxed despite the many sources of geopolitical tension," said analysts from Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a note to clients.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv, seeking to renew a push for a cease-fire after an earlier proposal by Egypt was rejected. A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.
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