Oil Extends Gains For Third Day Amid Middle East Tensions

Oil prices rose for a third straight session on Thursday on increasing concerns about supply disruptions in the Middle East.

Benchmark Brent crude jumped 0.9 percent to $72.39 a barrel and headed for its biggest weekly rise in six weeks. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1.1 percent at $62.72 per barrel.

Markets shrugged off higher U.S. weekly crude inventories and instead remained focused on tensions in the Middle East linked to stealth attacks on Saudi oil tankers.

The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq immediately, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said Washington has “limited ability to provide emergency services to the U.S. citizens in Iraq.”

“Normal visa services at both posts in Iraq and Erbil will be temporarily suspended,” it added.

The decision came after the Trump administration warned of potential threats against American forces in the region from Iran or Iranian-backed proxies.

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