Crude prices rose to nine-month highs in Asia
SINGAPORE: Crude prices rose to nine-month highs in Asian trade Monday as investors kept a wary eye on the worsening crisis in Iraq, where insurgents were advancing on the capital Baghdad.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery jumped 35 cents to $107.26 a barrel in late-morning trade, while Brent crude for August gained 44 cents to $112.90.”Markets remain on high alert on developments in Iraq… Investors are focused on Iraq and the potential for further (supply) disruptions,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told.
The militant offensive, spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has taken a huge swathe of predominantly Sunni Arab territory in northern Iraq since late Monday, and was advancing on Baghdad amid grisly reports of atrocities.
The United States ordered an aircraft carrier into the Gulf on Saturday, although US President Barack Obama ruled out sending troops back into combat.
The crisis has a direct bearing on crude prices because Iraq is the second-biggest oil exporter in the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after kingpin Saudi Arabia.