NEW YORK, Mar.30 -- Crude oil prices Tuesday rebounded on continuing uncertainty in the North Africa and Middle East, but the trading volume remained low.
The Middle East still faced great uncertainty. In Libya, although the rebels issued a shorter-than-estimated timetable for restoring the oil shipments, investors' expectation of quick normalizing oil exports was still low, considering the on-going fierce fights between the rebels and the government forces.
Unrest in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria has raised further worries about world oil supplies. Those countries don't produce much oil, but they are important transport links. Yemen sits on a strategic shipping lane that handles about 4 million barrels of oil a day.
Supply threat lifted markets, while demand uncertainty helped trim the high prices. Nuclear crisis in the quake-hit Japan , debt crisis in Europe and declining consumer confidence in U.S. made investors not optimistic about the oil demand outlook.
Nervous investors chose to be cautious, resulting in thin volume. Total U.S. crude trading volume was 52 percent below the 30-day average. Brent trading volume was also below 30-day average.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery gained 81 cents to settle at 104.79 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for May delivery also rose 36 cents to settle at 115.16 dollars a barrel.