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13 March 2011 | Angeline Albert
Fears of an oil supply shortage sparked by civil unrest in North Africa made the price of crude oil jump in the last week of February to over $100 a barrel (£62.40).
This was the first time it had gone above the $100 mark since the start of the financial crisis. In the past week the cost rose to $115 a barrel, but OPEC's report, released yesterday, covers the performance of the oil market in February.
In this period crude oil reached $100/barrel on 21 February for the first time since September 2008. Brent crude oil traded within a narrow range of $90-100 per barrel (£56.15-£62.40) in the first three weeks of the month, before it jumped to more than $111 (£69.26) on 24 February.
The changing oil price and subsequent supply disruptions impacted the cost of a variety of metals including aluminium, copper and gold - which all went up. The cost of precious metals increased as a result of their role as safe haven for investment in the middle of political uncertainty.
The report said that if sustained for a long period, the recent surge in oil prices could slow global growth. OPEC said resulting higher prices for industrial goods and technical services would negatively affect oil exporting countries.
Despite all this, OPEC concluded the world economy was still enjoying a solid recovery with JP Morgan's global Purchasing Managers’ Index reflecting this. The PMI moved above 57 index points in February, indicating expansion in the current quarter. In addition, manufacturing across many economies posted stronger growth in February, especially in the US, Eurozone and Japan.