Crude oil futures edged higher on Monday with Brent crude surging to its highest level in three and a half years, as violence in the Middle East fed concerns over the flow of oil in the region. The gain for U.S. benchmark oil prices weren't quite as impressive with traders wary of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) ability to offset crude supply declines and growing U.S. production. OPEC predicted strong demand from crude oil for the next year, helping fuel crude's modest rally. The cartel downplayed the impact of the U.S. shale boom, but warned about U.S. trade squabbles.
Benchmark crude oil futures for June delivery jumped 26 cents or 0.4 percent to settle at $70.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. July Brent crude surged $1.11 or 1.4 percent to settle at $78.23 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.