Oil prices jumped back above $75 a barrel this morning as hopes for a quick ceasefire in Lebanon faded while concerns grew at the approach of a tropical storm in the US.

US crude was 35 cents higher at $75.26. Brent North Sea crude was up 39 cents at $76.28. On Tuesday it briefly touched $76.58, a level last reached on 18 July.

Concerns that fighting in Lebanon might spark a wider conflict in the Middle East caused oil prices to soar to all-time highs above $78 last month.

The emergence of tropical storm Chris has added to nervousness, amid fears it could gain strength and hit oil platforms and refineries along the US Gulf Coast which are only just recovering from last year's hurricane season.