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Oil prices set 1-month highs

NEW YORK -- Oil prices set one-month highs yesterday as output disruptions in Iraq and Nigeria heightened fears over supply security and added momentum to a weeklong rally.

US light crude climbed $1.07 to $39.46 a barrel, after touching $39.70, as weekend pipeline sabotage that cut Iraqi oil exports almost in half and a stoppage in Nigeria combined to heighten fears over supply.

London Brent crude rose 76 cents to $37.06 a barrel.

US oil has gained almost $4 since last Tuesday after markets interpreted comments by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi that oil prices were "fair" as a sign that OPEC saw no need to push prices lower with more supply.

Other OPEC members have said they were happy with prices, prompting speculation that the group may refrain from rubber-stamping a preplanned 500,000 barrel per day output increase for August at its next meeting, on July 21.

With Iraq still suffering from sabotage attacks and with traders fearing supply disruptions at Russian oil giant Yukos, analysts said US oil could easily top $40 again.

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