Oil spikes above $70, its highest since September, amid mounting Middle East tensions

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  • Oil surged in early trading Monday amid escalating tensions in the Middle East.
  • Brent crude briefly rose as high as $70 per barrel, the most since September. US West Texas Intermediate traded its highest since April, rising to $63.79 per barrel.
  • The price of oil is likely to continue to surge as conflict in the Middle East intensifies, Hussein Sayed of FXTM wrote in a note Monday.
  • Watch Brent crude trade live on Markets Insider.

Oil surged more than 1% in early trading Monday morning as tensions in the Middle East escalated over the weekend, pushing Friday's gains into a second week.

Brent crude jumped 1.5% to as high as $70.74 per barrel in early trading Monday, its highest price since September 2019. US West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.2% to $63.79 per barrel, the most since April 2019. Advertisement

Tensions in the Middle East have mounted since the Friday death of Iran Major General Qassem Soleimani. Over the weekend, Iran said that it would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal following the general's death. On Sunday, President Trump tweeted that the US would impose sanctions on Iraq if US troops are forced to withdraw.

Since the conflict started, Brent crude has gained $4, Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, wrote in a note early Monday. The price will likely continue to climb as the conflict continues, and could weigh on stocks, he said.

"At $70-80 a barrel, the global economy is not likely to feel much impact from this raise in prices, but as we get closer to $100 there will be severe consequences," Sayed wrote. That could trigger "steep selloffs" in equity markets, he said.
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Oil prices have shown resilience in the past, however. In September 2019, prices spiked as much as 20% after drone strikes damaged two Saudi Aramco oil facilities, but traded back down when the company quickly restored production.

"It is unlikely that oil prices will soar to levels that will cause yet another global recession," Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research wrote in a Monday note. "If Middle Eastern oil supplies are disrupted, ample strategic petroleum reserves are available to mute any oil price shock. Higher oil prices would also stimulate even more oil production by US frackers." Gold has also gained since the conflict began. On Monday, the precious metal hit its highest price since 2013 as investors pile into the safe-haven asset.Advertisement

In 2019, Brent crude gained 23% and WTI gained 35%, their best annual performances since 2016.

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