Oil prices pull back sharply on rumor of Gaddafi deal

NEW YORK, March 7 | Mon Mar 7, 2011 10:27am EST

Oil prices pulled back sharply from earlier peaks on Monday, with traders and brokers citing rumors that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was seeking a deal with rebels to secure a safe exit from the country.

The rumors appeared linked to an unsourced report in an Arabic-language newspaper, trade sources said, but this could not immediately be verified.

Earlier in the day Reuters reported that a leading member of Libya's ruling establishment had appealed to rebel leaders for dialogue, in the clearest sign yet Gaddafi may be ready to compromise with opponents challenging his rule. [ID:nLDE7260ZM]

ICE Brent April crude LCOJ1 was up 70 cents at $116.67 a barrel at 10:21 a.m. EST (1521 GMT), pulling back from an earlier $118.50 peak. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, April crude CLJ1 stood $1.20 higher at $105.62 a barrel, having rebounded from a low of $104.65 a barrel.
(Reporting by Robert Gibbons; Editing by Jonathan Leff)

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