By Michael Spiller [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Today, oil prices soared to their highest level since mid-201 as large anti-government protests proceeded in Iran.
This morning, prices of Brent crude were up by 0.22 percent at $67.02 per barrel after hitting $67.27 earlier in the day, a high that is not seen since May 2015. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, was up by 0.35 percent at $60.63 after hitting a $60.73, the June 2015 high, earlier.
The increases marked the first time ever since January 2014 that both WTI and Brent started the year costing above $60 a barrel.
In Iran, various protests against alleged corruption and economic struggles continued for a fifth day today, with nearly 500 arrests and 13 people reported killed.
The chief market analyst at Think Markets, Naeem Aslam, stated: “Iran is one of the biggest Middle Eastern members of Opec [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] and the current turmoil in the country could potentially have a much larger impact on the oil price.”
The prices were also backed by an Opec-led agreement to cut oil production by 1.8m barrels per day (bpd) until the end of this year. The cuts that were made by Opec and other producers which includes Russia in 2017 helped bolster prices, with Brent crude increasing 17 percent in 2017, according to the head of research at London Capital Group, Jasper Lawler.