Tension In Middle East, Oil Prices Increase
The US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose by 25 cents from the previous day and was at $62.27 for a barrel a rise of 0.4%. The Brent Crude futures also rose up by 0.7% up by 0.4% and ended the session at $72.04 for a barrel. The oil prices had stabilized after the fallout of talks by China and the U.S. and subsequent comments by President Trump. But on Thursday, the oil prices increased as the tension in the Middle East heightened and that caused a panic as fears of the supply being disrupted in the oil market rose.
The U.S. asks non-emergency staff to depart from Iraq
Amidst tension between Iran and the U.S., the staff at the Baghdad embassy and the Erbil consulate is being ordered by the US state department to depart as soon as they can. The non-emergency employees have been ordered to use commercial transport to move out of Iraq. The U.S. military said that there has been movement in the region by Iran based forces and that has increased the threat levels of rising tension. The central command of the U.S. military said that they had the intelligence reports of a threat. A spokesman from the State Department said
Ensuring the safety of US government personnel and citizens is our highest priority and we are confident in the Iraqi security services’ [ability] to protect us. But this threat is serious, and we want to reduce the risk of harm.
Meanwhile, President Trump, in his tweets, quashed all speculation of in-house fighting in the White House over the strong policies he has adopted in the Middle East. He also tweeted that Iran will be ready to talk to the U.S. soon.
Other countries like Germany and the Dutch have paused the training programs for Iraq military due to nonspecific threats while the UK defense ministry said that there need to be strong measures taken by Iraq as the region is facing many threats but stressed that the Iraq administrations ‘sole focus’ is to decimate the IS.
In spite of all the tensions in the Middle East and the oil market suspecting shortage in supply of crude, there is a surprise which made the price rise stall a little. The U.S. crude stockpiles increased unexpectedly last week with stocks of 5.4 million barrels beating the analyst expectation of an 800,000 barrel decrease. It is the highest stockpile since Sep’17.