Oil prices hit fresh highs on Wednesday, with U.S. crude topping $61 a barrel for the first time in 2½ years, as the broader market got a boost from strong economic data and as a week of unrest in Iran continued.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude ended Wednesday's session up $1.26, or 2.1 percent, at $61.63, posting its best closing price since December 2014.
International benchmark Brent crude settled $1.27, or 1.9 percent, higher at $67.84, also a closing high going back to December 2014.
Oil futures took part in a broader market rally on Wednesday following strong U.S. manufacturing data and figures that showed German unemployment at a record low, said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.
"Oil got bought up with everything else. This economic data this morning was impressive to say the least," he said.
"It just speaks to something we don't talk about a lot, which is the demand side of the equation."
Brent could be headed toward $70 a barrel, while U.S. crude has a shot at breaking into the $65 to $67 range, Kilduff said.
Concerns over protests in Iran, OPEC's third largest oil producer, have boosted crude prices this week, even though analysts say the country's supplies face no immediate risks.
"Iranian oil production is unlikely to be disrupted in the near term unless the oil workers go on strike, and there is nothing yet to indicate that this is going to occur," said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.