The Associated Press March 16, 2011, 9:29AM ET

Oil prices rebound above $98 per barrel

Oil prices are rebounding after falling about 8 percent the past week as pro-reform demonstrations heat up in Bahrain, raising tensions in the Middle East.

Benchmark crude for April delivery gained $1.20 to $98.38 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices are rising as traders try to gauge world demand for oil amid a number of international crises.

In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi pounded rebel strongholds in a conflict that has halted the country's oil exports. To the east, soldiers clashed with protestors in Bahrain. The country lies next to Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest producer of oil.

Analysts also expect Japan to eventually boost imports of oil, coal and other fuels to make up for the loss of nuclear power following last week's earthquake.

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