Oil Prices Rise On Reports US Mulling Airstrikes On Iraqi Militants
NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Crude oil prices rebounded on Thursday after reports the United States was considering airstrikes on advancing Islamic militants in Iraq revived concerns about supply disruptions from OPEC's No. 2 oil producer.
Brent crude gained 85 cents to settle at $105.44 a barrel, and rose more than $1 in post-settlement trading. It had closed at $104.59 a barrel on Wednesday, its lowest settlement since Nov. 7.
U.S. crude gained 42 cents to settle at $97.34 a barrel, after closing at $96.92 a barrel in the previous session, the weakest level since February.
The spread <CL-LCO1=R> between the two benchmarks closed at $8.10, its widest since June 24.
Brent and U.S. crude were down earlier on Thursday but rallied after the New York Times reported U.S. President Barack Obama was considering airstrikes on the Islamic State fighters who have surged across northern Iraq toward the capital of its Kurdish region.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not confirm that airstrikes were being considered. "There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq," he said.
The reports of possible U.S. airstrikes "helped move the markets, but we need to see that actually happen before oil prices can go up higher," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. He added that ample global supplies were still pressuring oil prices, noting that oil supplies from Iraq had not yet been interrupted.
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