Oil prices jumped on Wednesday in Asia after Iran attacked two U.S.-Iraqi airbases in response to a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general last week, sparking worries of intensifying conflict in the Middle East.
Overnight, the Pentagon said missile strikes were launched from Iran and targeted the Ayn al-Asad base in western Iraq and another facility in Erbil.
U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures surged 1.3% to $63.53 , while International Brent Oil Futures traded 1.4% higher. Oil prices jumped as much as 5% earlier in the day following the news, but gave up some of their gains later on as Iran’s foreign minister said it had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense” and is not seeking war.
Supply worries resulting from deepening conflict between the U.S. and Iran were cited as tailwind for oil markets since the beginning of the year as a U.S. airstrike killed general Qassem Soleimani last week.
Developments on the Sino-U.S. trade front also remained as focus. The two nations were reportedly going to sign a phase one trade deal on Jan. 15.