Market Watch: Oil hits highest since 2014 on Russia-Ukraine escalation


LONDON (Reuters) -Oil hit its highest since 2014 on Tuesday as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated after Moscow ordered troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, adding to supply concerns that are pushing prices to near $100 a barrel.

The United States and its European allies are poised to announce new sanctions against Russia after President Vladimir Putin formally recognised the two regions in eastern Ukraine, escalating a security crisis on the continent.

“The potential for a rally over $100 a barrel has received an enormous boost,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. “Those who have bet on such a move anticipated the escalation of the conflict.”

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up $3.38, or 3.5%, at $98.77 at 1000 GMT, having earlier reached $99.50, the highest since September 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude jumped $4.40, or 4.8%, to $95.47 versus Friday’s settlement, having earlier reached $96, also the highest since 2014. The U.S. market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

“We see the oil market in a period of frothiness and nervousness, spiced up by geopolitical fears and emotions,” said Julius Baer analyst Norbert Rücker.

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