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Oil prices rise 2% as geopolitical tensions in middle east

6 Jan 2020 12:05 PM

Oil prices rose an additional 2% on Monday, sending Brent crude above $ 70 a barrel, as statements from the United States, Iran and Iraq fueled tensions in the Middle East after the killing of a prominent Iranian general.

Brent crude futures rose to $ 70.74 a barrel, at $ 70.03 at 0747 GMT, up $ 1.43, or 2.1%.

The price of US West Texas Intermediate crude reached $ 64.15 a barrel, up $ 1.10, or 1.7%, after reaching $ 64.72 earlier, the highest level since April.

Friday's gains extended more than 3% after a US air raid on Iraq that killed Iranian leader Qasim Soleimani on Friday, adding to fears of a widening conflict in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.

The region accounts for nearly half of the world's oil production, while a fifth of the world's oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

On Sunday, President Trump also threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq, the second largest producer among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), if US forces were forced to withdraw from the country. Baghdad had earlier called on the US and other foreign forces to leave Iraq.

The Energy Information Administration said on Friday that US crude stocks in the United States fell to their highest level since June, as exports exceeded 4 million barrels per day for the first time in history.