Oil prices have jumped to a nine-month high in the Asian markets amid the worsening crisis in Iraq, where Takfiri militants are fighting government forces near the capital Baghdad.
On Monday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery soared 35 cents to nearly 108 dollars a barrel while Brent crude for August gained 44 cents to about 113 dollars.
“Markets remain on high alert on developments in Iraq… Investors are focused on Iraq and the potential for further [supply] disruptions,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, Australia, told AFP.
The rises in oil prices came following a US report on growing concerns that the turmoil in Iraq could disrupt Middle East oil supplies.
Iraq is one of the biggest oil exporters in the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and produces about 3.3 million barrels a day.
Investors are closely monitoring events in Iraq as Takfiri militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have recently been carrying out acts of terror in Iraq, taking over a number of cities and committing atrocities against the people.
The ISIL militants have raided several towns on a road to the capital, Baghdad, after they took control of Mosul, some 400 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, about a week ago.