| GEO Business|
| Oil price hits 59 dollars on Nigeria unrest|
| Updated at: 0449 PST, Tuesday, May 19, 2009|
NEW YORK: New York crude oil prices hit 59 dollars Monday, driven by hopes of a quick economic recovery in the United States and escalating unrest in key energy exporter Nigeria.
New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, jumped 2.69 dollars from its closing price on Friday to end at a six-month high of 59.03 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for July delivery advanced 2.47 dollars to 58.47 dollars in London.
"Notwithstanding our own concerns about the consumer, there is still a good degree of optimism after the recent (Wall Street) rally that the economy is headed for better times soon as the fiscal stimulus works its way further through paychecks and local economies," said Patrick O'Hare.
The oil gains came in tandem with a strong US stock rally fueled by hopes for recovery in the recession-struck economy.
Analysts said one trigger for the higher oil prices Monday was escalating violence in Nigeria, where its main armed group said it had ordered a blockade of key shipping channels in a bid to inflict further damage on the energy industry. The military however urged oil firms to ignore the threat.
In the past three and a half years, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has been behind a series of kidnappings of staff and attacks on oil installations.