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Brent Climbs on Renewed Supply Worries

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Brent Climbs on Renewed Supply Worries
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Brent crude oil began Monday morning on a high as prices rose in response to renewed supply worries. The commodity traded at $111.08 after tension in the Middle East stoked fears of a supply interruption.

Last week, Brent was driven largely by global economic indicators as the world's largest economies slowly revived and headed toward recovery. Chinese data took the commodity on a roller coaster ride as trade data and inflation data told opposing stories about the state of the energy consuming giant's economic health.

Bad weather in Iraq slashed oil exports from the Basra port from 2.35 million barrels per day to just 960,000 bpd. High winds were cited as a main cause for the interruption.

Adding to supply worries was an attack on Iraqi Finance Minister Rafaie al-Esawi as he traveled from a meeting on Sunday. According to CNBC, a roadside bomb exploded and left two of his guards wounded to the west of Baghdad.

In Iran, tension over the country's disputed nuclear development program has prompted Iranian officials to threaten the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, where a large percentage of the world's seaborne oil exports must pass. Iranian media reported that the Iranian military was performing military drills at the Strait on Sunday, causing renewed worry over its closure.

More violence Syria has also contributed to instability in the Middle East. The death toll continued to rise in the Syrian civil war as government forces bombed the area surrounding Damascus on Sunday, killing at least 36 rebels. The conflict has been creeping slowly toward the capital city, and investors worry that the region's violence will overflow into key oil exporting countries.

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