Crude soars as Iraq descends into chaos, fuels supply disruption fears

Shutterstock photo - - Crude futures shot up on Thursday after Iraq appeared to move closer to outright civil war, which could disrupt global supply.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in July traded at $106.02 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 1.55%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $104.36 a barrel and a high of $106.52 a barrel.

The July contract settled up 0.05% at $104.40 a barrel on Wednesday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $102.62 a barrel, Monday's low, and resistance at $108.99 a barrel, the high from Sept. 19, 2013

Iraqi insurgents linked to al-Qaeda reportedly took full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday and advanced closer to the capital, Baghdad.

On Wednesday, militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seized the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit, renewing concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.

The U.S. said that it is working with Iraq's leaders on a coordinated response to regain lost territory and would provide additional assistance to Baghdad.

Earlier Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama said Iraq would need assistance from the U.S. to push the insurgents back.

Geopolitical concerns eclipsed otherwise bearish U.S. data.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in May, missing expectations for a 0.6% gain, reminding investors that the U.S. economy still faces potholes that my dampen demand for fuel and energy. However, retail sales for April were revised up to a 0.5% gain from a previously reported increase of 0.1%.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, eased up 0.1% in May, disappointing forecasts for a 0.2% increase. Core sales in April were revised up to 0.4% from a previously reported flat reading.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending June 7 increased by 4,000 to 317,000, confounding expectations for a decline of 3,000, though markets largely shrugged off the report.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for August delivery were up 2.07% and trading at US$111.63 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$5.61 a barrel. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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