Oil prices fall as alarm over Iran rocket strike fades

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Oil futures fell on Wednesday from peaks hit in frenzied early trading after a rocket attack by Iran on American forces in Iraq raised the spectre of a spiralling Middle East conflict and disruption to crude flows.

Prices gave up most of their early gains as oil production facilities remain unaffected by attacks.

Tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump and Iran’s foreign minister also appeared to signal a period of calm – for now.

Brent crude futures were down 49 cents, or 0.72 per cent, at 67.78 dollars by around 1254 GMT, after earlier rising to their highest since mid-September at 71.75 dollars.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 76 cents, or 1.21 per cent, at 61.94 dollars a barrel. WTI has seesawed through the day. The futures earlier hit 65.85 dollars, the highest since late April last year, before briefly being down by over 1 dollar from the previous close.

Iran’s missile attack on U.S.-led forces in Iraq came early on Wednesday, hours after the funeral of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the country’s elite Quds Force killed in a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3.

Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against, at least, two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

Trump said in a tweet that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was underway and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning U.S. time. “All is well!” Trump said in the Twitter post.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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