Brent And US Crude Reach 18-Day Low On Easing Iraq Supply Fears
NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) - Brent crude fell toward $112 a barrel on Monday, hitting an 18-day low as did U.S. crude near $105, as investors grew less worried about potential supply disruptions from Iraq.
Heavy fighting between government-led forces and Sunni militants in the north of Iraq has spared refineries in the south, which process around 90 percent of the OPEC member's oil exports.
Brent is still up about 3 percent in June, its biggest monthly gain since August. But the North Sea benchmark has come off the nine-month high of $115.71 hit two weeks ago, as the Sunni advance in Iraq appears to have stalled.
"The fear premium is abating as the chances of fighting in Iraq hitting oil supplies diminishes," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "It now looks very unlikely that the rebels will reach the major oil supply areas."
Brent lost 94 cents to settle at $112.36 a barrel, its lowest settlement since the rally spurred by the Iraqi crisis started on June 12.
U.S. crude lost 37 cents to settle at $105.37 a barrel, also its lowest since June 12.
The spread <CL-LCO1=R> between the two benchmarks further narrowed to close at $6.99, its tightest since June 16.
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