By Cassie Werber
LONDON--Brent crude's seven-day surge stalled Friday after the price sailed above $115 a barrel for the first time in nine months.
The violent insurrection in major oil producer Iraq has fuelled a more than 5% surge in the price of Brent since June 12, but although fighting at the Beiji oil refinery persisted Friday, as did worries that Baghdad would be the next city to fall under control of rebels from the ISIS group, oil exports continued to flow.
"For now, the only thing than has increased is uncertainty," said Harry Tchilinguirian and Gareth Lewis-Davies at BNP Paribas. "There is no actual supply outage in Iraq yet."
Brent crude was slightly down at $114.90 a barrel, 0.1% off its previous closing price. WTI was down atad at $106.41 a barrel.
"Unless you're going to assume that Baghdad collapses and there are hit-and-run raids by Sunni groups into the Shiite south, you're not going to see much more in the short term," said Paul Stevens, distinguished fellow in energy, environment and resources at think-tank Chatham House.
The south is home to a mainly Shiite population, and to the vast majority of Iraq's oil fields and pipeline infrastructure.
U.S. economic data released Thursday also provided some support to oil prices, with initial jobless claims falling and the manufacturing expanding sector expanding, "pointing towards a healthy U.S. economy," according to Tamas Varga of brokerage PVM.
Recently, ICE gasoil was down $3.50 at $935.50 a metric ton, while gasoline was down 41 points at $3.3550 a gallon.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 20, 2014 06:14 ET (10:14 GMT)
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