Crude prices rose above 46 U.S. dollars a barrel Friday as the Middle East tension continued while OPEC would carry out its largest production cut.
Concerns that the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza could disrupt supplies in the Middle East continued boosting prices.
The gains were also encouraged by a rally in U.S. stocks to a two-week high despite U.S. manufacturing activity fell more than expected in December.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which accounts for about 40 percent of global supply, is to slash 2.2 million barrels per day this month. It would be the cartel's biggest-ever output cut.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery rose 1.74 dollars to settle at 46.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, February Brent crude rose 1.32 dollars to settle at 46.91 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
(Xinhua News Agency January 3, 2009)