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Rate Rises Will Not Affect Oil Prices: Energy Consultant

Expectations of inflation have supported oil prices, but even though interest rates are set to rise, crude is unlikely to fall too much, Johannes Benigni, managing director at JBC Energy told CNBC Tuesday.

The European Central Bank will have a monetary policy meeting Thursday and analysts expect a raise in interest rates, as ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said last month that such a move is likely.

"The expectation of inflation has of course been supporting oil, but what has come on top of it is the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa," Benigni said in an interview.

"It has given it another $20- $30 on top of it. So if you're expecting now with interest rates rising, that investors go out of commodities, it’s only partly true. The unrest in the Middle East is not gone because of that," he added.

Interest rates will move higher, but maybe not as quickly as is likely to happen in the euro zone, Benigni added.

Many analysts do not expect the Federal Reserve to start raising rates until next year.

"Investors are going to start to shift because you always trade on expectations- once the Fed interest rates start to move higher you have to move," Benigni said.

"It’s like a starting pail, everyone has to reduce his exposure on commodities…on the same token that’s not going to be true on every one of the commodities, oil clearly has a different agenda right now," said Benigni.

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