Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oil Nears Six-Month High as Iraq Clashes Threaten Supply

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oil Nears Six-Month High as Iraq Clashes Threaten Supply

Article excerpt

Byline: Russell Lynch

CLASHES between Iraqi and Kurdish troops inflamed tensions in the Middle East today, pushing the oil price close to six-month highs.

Iraqi troops rushed overnight to seize oil fields near the city of Kirkuk held by Kurdish forces in another escalation after the Kurdistan population voted for independence last month.

Brent crude jumped almost a dollar at one stage today to hit $58.15 a barrel amid worries over potential disruption to supply if a full-scale battle breaks out.

Iraq is the second largest producer behind Saudi Arabia in the Opec oil cartel, pumping around 4.5 million barrels a day.

The latest spike in crude prices also threatens a headache for the Bank of England's inflation-watchers, who look increasingly certain to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade in November. Higher oil prices will feed through to pain at the petrol pump and put upward pressure on households' gas and electricity bills. …

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