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January 8, 2020

Oil prices fall as tensions of US-Iran conflict seem to ease

Oil prices fell after reaching their peaks earlier, as concerns over Iran-US conflict appeared to have eased for now following tweets from US President and Iran’s Foreign Minister.

By Himaja Ganta

Oil prices fell after reaching their peaks earlier this week, as concerns over the Iran-US conflict appear to have eased following tweets from the US President and Iran’s Foreign Minister.

Brent crude futures were up $0.97 to $69.24 a barrel, after previously reaching $71.75, which is the highest since last September.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped $0.82 to $63.52 a barrel. Prices reached a high of $65.85, the highest since April, according to a Reuters report.

Reuters said that market tension could ease if the US does not target oil production facilities in Iran.

The US military said that Tehran fired over a dozen ballistic missiles from Iran to two Iraqi military bases that were hosting US-led military personnel.

Reuters reported that stock, currency and gold markets changed following these attacks.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that an assessment of casualties from the strikes is underway and that would make a statement on the attack.

IHS Markit Singapore energy consulting vice-president Victor Shum said: “The reality remains that there have been no reports of oil supply disruptions and these attacks were aimed at military installations in Iraq.

“So no immediate impact on oil supply but risks have certainly increased and the oil market is in a wait-and-see (mode) to see if this escalates further and if there is any collateral damage affecting oil supply.”

Iran’s English-language Press TV cited an undisclosed source as saying that the missiles hit their intended US targets in Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif tweeted as saying: “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian airliner jet has crashed in Tehran, claiming the lives of at least 170 people. This has not disturbed trading.

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