Oil, gold prices climb higher as Middle East tensions flare


Doha [Qatar], Jan 6 (ANI): Oil and gold prices continued surging on Monday as escalating tensions in the Middle East fanned worries about disruption to global oil supplies, sending investors scurrying to safer investments.

Brent crude oil soared past 70 dollars a barrel, rising by more than 2 per cent on Monday, while West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 1.8 per cent to 64.21 dollars. Al Jazeera said oil prices had jumped by more than 4 per cent on Friday after the United States killed Iran’s Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani in an air attack near Baghdad airport.

The US State Department said there was a heightened risk of missile attacks near military bases and energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Iran said on Sunday it no longer considers itself bound by the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with the United States and other world powers in the fallout from the killing of Soleimani. It added that it has to settle a score with the United States.

Meanwhile, the spot gold price rose to its highest in almost seven years as concerns over geopolitical tensions in the Middle East stoked demand for precious metals, which are seen as safer investments during times of financial uncertainty.

Spot gold surged by 1.5 per cent to 1,579.55 dollars per ounce in jittery trade and reached its highest since April 2013.

The Iraqi government has called on American and other foreign troops to leave Iraq, heightening concerns of a widening Middle East conflict that may disrupt oil supplies from the region.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump threatened major retaliation against Iran if Tehran were to retaliate for the killing.

Rising tensions between the United States and Iran have already caused unprecedented disruptions to oil production in the Middle East, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s oil production.

Last year, Washington blamed Tehran for sabotage attacks on supertankers and a missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq crude-processing plant in September — the largest single supply halt in the industry’s history.

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