Oil hits $70 a barrel as Iran, US flex muscle

Oil prices rose again on Monday, pushing Brent above $70 a barrel, as rhetoric from the United States, Iran and Iraq fanned tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. air strike killed a top Iranian military commander.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 soared to a high of $70.74 a barrel and was at $69.74 at 0940 GMT, up $1.14, or 1.66 per cent, from Friday’s settlement.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate CLc1 crude was at $63.92 a barrel, up 87 cents, or 1.38 per cent after touching $64.72 the highest since April.

The gains extended Friday’s more than three percent surge after a U.S. air strike in Iraq killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on Friday, heightening concerns about an escalation in conflict in the Middle East and the possible impact on oil supplies.

The region accounts for nearly half of the world’s oil production, while a fifth of the world’s oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz

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