Drumbeat: February 22, 2012

Threat to economy could force IEA to release oil

(Reuters) – Political leaders in the United States and Europe could soon face an uncomfortable choice between raising the pressure on Iran further or taking steps to safeguard their economies from the damage wrought by rising oil prices.

Confrontation with Iran and a series of supply disruptions in South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have pushed prices back to levels that derailed the recovery in the United States and Europe last year, and could do again in the first half of 2012.

If prices continue rising, releasing oil from government-controlled stockpiles will ...

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