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Supply-Disruption Worries Push Oil Up After U.S. Strike On Syria

An image, taken from a video broadcast on Syrian state television, shows a Syrian army air base that was hit by a U.S. strike near the city of Homs.

Oil prices have risen in the wake of a U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, as investors worried about potential supply disruptions in the event of a wider conflict.

U.S. crude rose $0.51 in April 7 trading to $52.21 a barrel. Brent oil prices were up $0.39 to $55.28.

Gold, seen as a safe-haven investment in times of global crisis, increased 1.2 percent to $1,265.70 an ounce.

"News of last night's attack sent shockwaves through the markets, with investors flocking to safety, causing gains in the likes of gold and the yen," Joshua Mahony of the IG trading group told the AFP news agency.

"A big surge in crude prices overnight was caused primarily by the prospects of an increasing U.S. military involvement in the Middle East," he added.

The price rise eased somewhat after U.S. officials later indicated the attack was a one-off event and not a precursor to further escalation. Weaker U.S. economic statistics, indicating a possible economic slowdown, also helped cap price rises.

Oil prices have recovered slightly in recent months after a prolonged slump. OPEC and several nonmember nations, including Russia, have agreed to cut production in an effort to raise prices, although the move has had only a limited effect.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Bloomberg, and AFP