Investing.com - West Texas Intermediate and Brent oil futures both ended Friday’s session at nine-month highs, as concerns over escalating violence in Iraq boosted prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in August rose to a daily high of $106.93 a barrel, the most since September 19, before coming off the highs to settle at $106.83 by close of trade, up 0.74%, or 78 cents.
Oil futures were likely to find support at $105.11 a barrel, the low from June 19 and resistance at $108.99 a barrel, the high from September 19.
For the week, Nymex oil tacked on 0.61%, or 66 cents, the second consecutive weekly gain.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery hit $115.71 a barrel on Thursday, the highest level since September 9, before subsequently consolidating at $114.81 by close of trade on Friday, down 0.22%, or 25 cents in the day.
Despite Friday’s modest decline, the August Brent contract rallied 2.04%, or $2.35 a barrel, on the week.
Meanwhile the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $7.98 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, compared to $5.55 in the preceding week.
Oil traders continued to monitor events in Iraq, as Iraqi army forces fought with Sunni militants for control of a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery in the northern city of Baquba, fuelling concerns over a disruption to supplies.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday he would send 300 members of the special-operations forces to Iraq and added he was prepared to take "targeted" military action later if deemed necessary.
Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere, a broadly weaker U.S. dollar also contributed to gains. The greenback weakened against most of its major counterparts after the Federal Reserve gave no indication of when interest rates could start to rise at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday.
In addition, the Fed’s forecast of where interest rates might reach in the long term fell from 4% to 3.75%.
The central bank cut its bond purchases by $10 billion a month, to $35 billion, saying there was "sufficient underlying strength" in the U.S. economy to continue tapering.
In the coming week, market players will focus on U.S. consumer confidence, durable goods orders and home sales data for further indications on the strength of the economy.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in New York-traded oil futures in the week ending June 17.
Net longs totaled 356,336 contracts as of last week, up 4.1% from net longs of 341,680 in the preceding week.
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