Oil hits highest in nearly 2 weeks on Asian equity recovery

Oil prices extended gains to hit their highest level in nearly two weeks on Monday, buoyed as Asian shares joined a global recovery in equity markets and as worries grew over tensions in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Feb. 18, that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 73 cents, or 1.2 per cent at 62.41 dollars a barrel by 0600 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since Feb. 7.

Brent sweet crude was up 52 cents, or 0.8 per cent at 65.36 dollars, after rising more than three per cent last week.

Trading is expected to be slower than usual due to market holidays in the U.S. as well as Greater China.

Surging U.S. production is offsetting efforts by the OPEC and some other producers, including Russia to curb production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of 2018.

Money managers slashed their bullish wagers on ICE Brent crude oil futures by the most in nearly eight months in the week to Feb. 13, data showed. (Reuters /NAN)