Oil steady as U.S. output gains offset Middle East tensions


Asian shares advanced to a decade high on Monday, while USA oil futures jumped to hover near a six-month top as escalating tensions between the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces threatened supply.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at $51.76 per barrel, down slightly from their last settlement, but still some 2 percent higher than last Friday, and nearly a quarter above mid-June levels. The Persian Gulf nation said it would support an extension of OPEC output cuts to the end of 2018 and insisted its production plans won't be disrupted by U.S. President Donald Trump's disavowal of the nuclear deal that's boosted its exports.

Brent crude oil LCOc1 gained 5 cents to touch $57.87 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 remained unchanged at $51.87, reported Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed up 0.57 percent at its highest level since late 2007.

"In the case of Kurdistan, the 500,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Kirkuk oil field cluster is at risk with initial reports that 350,000 bpd has shut in, although this remains unclear", the bank said.

With supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries tightening the market, analysts have been raising their oil price forecasts.

The escalating fighting in Iraq has spooked markets as it adds to rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

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Energy stocks rose on higher oil prices and technology shares also rallied, driven by a 1.6 percent increase in Apple Inc AAPL.O . U.S. President Donald Trump on October 13 refused to certify Iran's compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide on further action against Tehran.

"Oil and geopolitics are very much interlinked", Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told Reuters.

In an otherwise typically quiet Monday market, the price of Crude Oil is up nearly 1.7% since this week's open, as at the time of writing.

OPEC and 10 producers outside the cartel, including Russian Federation, first agreed late a year ago to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

The euro EUR= slumped 0.25 percent to $1.1792, while the dollar index .DXY added to gains, rising 0.21 percent as investors repositioned following disappointing inflation data on Friday that sent the greenback lower.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry trade group, will release US weekly petroleum inventory data at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), ahead of the government's report on Wednesday.