Oil climbed while Asian stocks declined for the first time in four days amid escalating tensions in the Middle East.
Crude for March delivery jumped 1.3 percent in New York to $87.34 a barrel as of 9:20 a.m. in Tokyo. Gold rose 0.2 percent, pacing a rally among precious metals. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent to 139.74, halting a three-day, 1.6 percent advance. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent.
Libyan security forces attacked anti-government protestors, drawing condemnation from the U.S. and Europe as the North African country became the focal point of demonstrations after violence flared in Yemen, Djibouti and Bahrain. In China, authorities acted to halt an online call for a “Jasmine Revolution,” while the central bank announced after the close of markets on Feb. 18 an increase in lenders’ reserve ratios.