Brent Steady Above $105 With Israel In Focus
Brent crude oil began the week above $105 with investors keeping a watchful eye on the developing situation in Iraq. The commodity traded at $105.03 at 7:40 a.m.GMT as Iraqi oil supplies remained unaffected despite the ongoing conflict.
On Friday, crude prices reached new highs after news that the United States was planning to intervene in the conflict between Islamic State militants and Iraqi forces. Over the weekend, the U.S. military carried out targeted air strikes in the northern part of the country, which are expected to help maintain stability in the nation and will likely keep the fighting from spreading to the south and causing supply disruptions.
Reuters reported that Iraq’s oil exports have been at record levels recently, as the pipeline that passes through Turkey has maintained its 120,000 barrel per day capacity. However, many traders are worried about the region’s long-term potential as several oil companies have begun to evacuate staff in the face of the ongoing conflict.
Brent prices also fell under some pressure when OPEC reported that its production had increased in July despite conflicts in several of its member nations. Libya is also feeling the strain of geopolitical tension as the nation struggles to regain control of its oilfields and return to stability. In addition to reporting increased output, OPEC also revised its 2014 demand growth forecast lower, its second downward revision in as many months.
Moving forward investors will be looking to economic data from the world’s major economies this week for an idea of what global demand will look like through the rest of the year. Although the conflict in Iraq is likely to drive prices this week, GDP figures from the United States and the eurozone will also play into crude strength.
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