Investing.com - Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil futures rallied sharply on Thursday, amid mounting concerns over escalating violence in Iraq.
On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for August delivery rose to a session high of $110.80 a barrel, the most since March 3, before paring gains to last trade at $110.74 a barrel during European morning hours, up 1.26%, or $1.38.
Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in July rallied 1.09%, or $1.14, to trade at $105.54. Nymex oil hit a daily high of $105.57 earlier, the most since September 20, 2013.
Iraqi insurgents linked to al-Qaeda reportedly took full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday and moved closer to the capital, Baghdad.
On Wednesday, militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seized the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit, renewing concerns over a disruption to supplies from the region.
The U.S. said that it is working with Iraq''s leaders on a coordinated response to regain lost territory and would provide additional assistance to Baghdad.
Market participants were looking ahead to U.S. data on jobless claims and retail sales later in the trading day, after recent economic reports have indicated that the economy is shaking off the effects of the severe winter.