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Iran's move to cut oil shipments to Britain, France expected to have little effect on supplies

Monday, February 20, 2012

(Fox News) Iran's move to cut off oil shipments to Britain and France is expected to have little or no effect on supplies, but had an immediate effect on world prices Monday, as oil prices jumped to a nine-month high above $105 a barrel.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark March crude was up $1.91 to $105.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier in the day, it rose to $105.21, the highest since May. The contract rose 93 cents to settle at $103.24 per barrel in New York on Friday.

Markets in the United States are closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

Iran's oil ministry said Sunday it stopped crude shipments to British and French companies in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran's crucial fuel exports. They include a freeze of the country's central bank assets and an oil embargo set to begin in July.