The growing political chaos in Libya has caused oil prices to spike and has raised concerns about further inflation in the United States.
On Feb. 23, West Texas Intermediate crude oil — which is the major benchmark for crude oil prices — rose to $100 per barrel for the first time since September 2008, according to media reports. The increase comes as protesters in Libya have clashed with supporters of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, causing oil companies in the north African nation to evacuate workers and cease production.
According to The New York Times, oil experts predict that the crisis in Libya will cause European refineries to purchase sweet crude oil from Algeria and Nigeria, which are two major providers for the U.S. As a result, this would likely raise American gasoline prices, which have already increased by 6 cents per gallon over the last week.
As commodity prices and interest rates continue to inflate throughout the world, many people have turned to gold as an alternative investment to protect their hard-earned assets. According to Bloomberg, gold futures prices hit a seven-week high on Feb. 23, increasing as much as $4.50 to $1,418.50 an ounce.
"Escalating unrest in Libya and rising oil prices have encouraged gold safe-haven buying and fueled concerns over inflation, which also benefits gold," wrote Mark Pervan, senior analyst with ANZ Banking Group, quoted by the media outlet.