Oil prices jumped to nine-month highs on Thursday, as concerns mounted that escalating violence in Iraq could disrupt oil supplies from the second-largest OPEC producer.
Sunni Islamist militants, who took over Iraq’s second-biggest city Mosul earlier this week, extended their advance south toward Baghdad and surrounded the country’s largest refinery in the northern town of Baiji on Thursday.
“The fear is that will cause a threat to Iraqi oil exports,” Christopher Bellew, a trader at Jefferies Bache, said. “If this conflict knocked out Iraq as an exporter, that would have significant impact on prices.”
Brent futures gained $3.07 to settle at $113.02 a barrel, the highest level since Sept. 9. U.S. oil gained $2.13 to settle at $106.53 a barrel, also the highest close since Sept. 18, according to Reuters data.