Oil traders on alert amid Baghdad unrest

Trump is blaming Iran for the Iraq attack

Oil prices slid off three-month highs Tuesday despite dozens of Iraqi Shiite militia supporters storming the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

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Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, were both down 0.7 percent, trading at $66.18 a barrel and $61.19, respectively. They had been down by more than 1 percent.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
USOUNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P.25.25-0.35-1.37%

TRUMP BLAMES IRAN FOR US EMBASSY ATTACK, VOWS TO HOLD NATION 'FULLY RESPONSIBLE'

“With the U.S. ramping up production, as well as new production in other places around the world, like Brazil, Canada, Guyana, we’ve seen less of an impact from OPEC,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone on “Mornings with Maria.” “And especially here in the U.S. where we’re buying less and less OPEC oil every year.”

Tuesday’s violence comes on the heels of the U.S. launching airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. Iraq is OPEC’s second largest producer, pumping out 4.88 million barrels per day in August, according to S&P Global Platts.

Oil prices have rallied by about 10 percent in recent weeks after OPEC and its allies, on Dec. 6, agreed to cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day through the first quarter of 2020. The cuts are in addition to 1.2 million bpd that were agreed to in January 2017, when oil prices were more than 10 percent below current levels.

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Brent crude oil is up about 24 percent this year while West Texas Intermediate has gained 36 percent. Crude is on track for its biggest annual gains since 2016.