Investing.com - Crude oil futures climbed for the first time in four days Monday, as the European Union agreed to ban crude imports from Iran.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for March settlement traded at USD99.86 a barrel during mid U.S. trade advancing 1.56%.
It is trading near the high of USD99.88 a barrel and posted a session low of USD97.47 per barrel.
Weakness in the U.S. dollar helped lift crude oil prices. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, gave back 0.46% to 79.95.
Dollar weakness generally lifts commodity prices, as it increases their appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar priced commodities less expensive for holders of other currencies.
EU foreign ministers launched an immediate ban on Iranian oil imports, as well as the phasing out between now and July 1 of contracts for the purchase or transport of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products.
The ministers also froze all assets of the Iranian central bank within the EU and banned precious metal trade with the Islamic Republic.
The EU stated that the embargo targets the sources of finance for the nuclear program, complementing already existing sanctions. Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz if the sanctions impede the sale of Iranian oil.
Meanwhile, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has vowed to keep the Strait of Hormuz open despite the Iranian threats.
Gene McGillian of Tradition Energy explained to Bloomberg, "In the long term, the Chinese and Indians are going to continue buying from Iran, so the embargo is more of a reshuffle of the cards."
In other news, hedge funds reduced their bullish bets on oil for the first time in four weeks according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Commitment of Trader's report on January 20.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for March delivery climbed 1.27% to trade at USD111.25 a barrel, up USD11.37 on its U.S. Counterpart.
This over USD10.00 spread is near historic highs. The two contracts traditionally trade within USD1.00 of each other.