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Oil prices jump as Middle East tensions raises output concerns

LONDON, January 20, 2020 – Oil prices rose on Monday in Asia as intensifying tensions in the Middle East raised output and exports concerns.

US Crude Oil WTI Futures jumped 1.1% to $59.25 by 12:16 AM ET (04:16 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures surged 1.3% to $65.69.

On Sunday, Iraq halted output at an oilfield as widespread unrest escalated. Meanwhile, in Libya, National Oil Corp. declared force majeure after Commander Khalifa Haftar blocked exports at ports under his control.

 

Last week, the International Energy Agency noted that supplies from Iraq are “potentially vulnerable” due to rising political risks in the country. Tensions in the Middle East escalated since the beginning of the year after a US airstrike killed Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani.

On the other hand, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo told CNBC in an interview that global oil demand has “upside potential.”

“By and large what we see from our side is an upside potential of growth from the demand side of the equation, which will effect the total balance for the rest of the year,” he said.

Crude prices dropped last Friday on the weekly oil rig count published by industry firm Baker Hughes, which showed drillers adding 14 rigs to bring to 673 the total number across US oil fields.

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