Oil prices climb on worries over Libyan supply

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday, after dropping for the past two sessions, as escalating clashes in Libya stoked worries about supply from the OPEC member.

A fire caused by fighting at one of Libya's main export terminals has destroyed 800,000 barrels of crude - more than two days of the country's output, officials said, amid clashes between factions battling for control of the nation.

"Libya, and all the other problems, warrants some kind of risk premium," said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers Alliance. "Oil is at a level where people are happy to build in a risk premium," he said.

Brent crude was up 37 cents at US$59.82 by 0302 GMT after hitting US$60.40 in earlier in the day. The benchmark settled down 79 cents in the previous session.

U.S. crude rose 57 cents to US$55.30 after closing US$1.11 down in thin trade on Friday. It rose to a peak of US$55.74 in early trade on Monday.

Daniel Ang, an analyst with Singapore's Phillip Futures, expects Brent to stay around US$60 a barrel and U.S. crude to trade between US$55-56 a barrel this week.

Oil prices also drew support from short covering by traders and plans by China and Japan to boost liquidity.

The People's Bank of China plans to loosen loan-to-deposit ratios for banks from next year. China's economy is expected to grow by 7 per cent in 2015, slower than the forecast 7.3 per cent in 2014, a government think-tank, the State Information Centre said on Monday.

Japan's government approved on Saturday stimulus spending worth US$29 billion to help the country's lagging regions and households with subsidies, merchandise vouchers and other steps, which it hopes will boost GDP by 0.7 per cent.

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