Brent Above $115 As Obama Gains Congressional Support
Brent crude oil rose to nearly a weekly high, above $115 per barrel on Wednesday. The commodity traded at $115.50 at 7:25 GMT as US lawmakers rallied around the Obama administration's initiative to launch a military strike in Syria.
After putting the authorization to carry out limited strikes on Syria up to a vote, President Obama won support from most key figures in Congress, despite past conflicts with the Republicans.
With the US moving closer to launching a military strike, the Syrian government has been bracing for the attack by evacuating military bases and threatening retaliation.
Although Syria is not a major oil producer, its location in the Middle East has many worried that a limited strike could send the region into a full out war. Reuters reported that the analysts at Merrill Lynch are forecasting that Brent will jump to $120-$130 per barrel if the US does move forward with a limited strike. If the region's conflict expands into a protracted war, the brokerage expects to see Brent prices boosted by up to $50.
With Libya still struggling to return to normal capacity as labor strikes keep several of the nation's largest export terminals closed, oil supply has become a major price driver. The country's oil exports have slipped to 100,000 barrels per day, which is less than a tenth of the Libya's normal capacity.
Key jobs data from the US could put some pressure on Brent prices as most will be looking to the figures for clues about when the US Federal Reserve will cut down on its stimulus spending. Although data from the US has been relatively positive and could support a September taper, many think the bank will be hesitant to cut rates and upset global markets when they are already being rocked by the potential of military action in Syria.
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