Oil hits more than 3-year high on Saudi strikes, US-Russia tension

    Oil prices hit new 2018 highs as missile strikes on top crude exporter Saudi Arabia added to the market's worries about escalating conflict between the United States and Russia in Syria.

    Brent, the benchmark for international oil prices, earlier climbed to its highest level in more than three years after President Donald Trump earlier warned Russia to "Get ready" for a U.S. missile attack on Syria, whose government Moscow has backed during its seven-year civil war.

    Brent crude prices were at $72.47 a barrel, up $1.43, or 2 percent from Tuesday's closing price. The contract earlier rose to $73.09, the highest level since Nov. 28, 2014, when it hit $73.41.

    The new records came despite government data showing U.S. crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly and American crude production continued to hit new highs.

    U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week through April 6.

    Analysts in a Reuters survey had anticipated a decline of 189,000 barrels a day. Figures released Tuesday afternoon by industry group the American Petroleum Institute had suggested crude stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels a day.

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