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Brent crude closed in on $100 a barrel on Monday on concern anti-government protests in Egypt could spark instability elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), regions that together produce more than a third of the world's oil.
Six days of unrest in Egypt has killed more than 100 people, rocked the Middle East and rattled global investors.
Egypt is not a major oil producer but protests and demands for political change there come just two weeks after Tunisia's president was overthrown. Concern that oil-producing states in the region may face similar protests is supporting crude.
"The Egyptian situation looks to be the primary factor," said David Land, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. The market is reacting to "what this could mean in terms of stability for such a vital region for energy production," he added.
Brent rose to as much as $99.97 a barrel, the highest since October 1, 2008, and was up 18 cents at $99.60 at 0738 GMT. Brent is trading about $10 above US crude, which on Monday added 21 cents to $89.55.
Brent oil is expected to briefly pierce $100 per barrel and touch $100.50, based on its wave pattern, according to Reuters analyst Wang Tao.
Concern that unrest could impact the flow of oil through Egypt from the Middle East to Europe underpinned price gains.
Egypt controls the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean (SUMED) Pipeline, which between them moved over 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude and oil products in 2009.
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