Oil, gold prices surge after Iran targets US troops in Iraq


Doha (Qatar): Global oil and gold prices climbed sharply on Wednesday after the Pentagon said that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against bases in Iraq that house US troops, amplifying concerns about a spiralling retaliatory conflict between the United States and Iran.

CNN said US crude was last up by more than 1.2 per cent to over 63 dollars a barrel, coming down slightly from a 4 per cent spike earlier. Brent crude, a global oil benchmark, was last up by 1.6 percent to about 69 dollars a barrel.
The attacks were Iran’s response to the US killing last week of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. Iran has called that attack an ‘act of war’ and ‘state terrorism’ and vowed a response.

Investors remained on high alert for any signs of a clash between the United States and Iran that threatens oil supplies in the Middle East. Crude prices retreated earlier this week on hopes that energy supplies will not be impacted by the tensions.

A spike in oil prices could deal a blow to the world economy, which is already struggling from weak manufacturing activity.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that the price of gold initially shot past 1,600 dollars per ounce on the spot market but later pared gains to trade at 1,593.56 dollars per ounce as investors rushed to safe-haven investments.

Attention has turned to the Straits of Hormuz in Iran through which 34 million barrels of oil are shipped to the United States every month, said Al Jazeera.