Brent headed for the first weekly drop since violence erupted in Iraq amid speculation that oil output would remain safe in OPEC’s second-biggest producer. West Texas Intermediate was steady in New York.
Futures were little changed in London and down 1.2 percent from June 20, the biggest weekly drop since April. Iraqi forces held the Baiji refinery in the north after repelling the latest attack by Islamist militants. Fighting hasn’t spread to the south, home to more than three-quarters of the nation’s oil production. U.S. crude stockpiles increased last week for the first time since May, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“Right now we are focusing hard on the situation in Iraq, although concern may have been a bit inflated,” Jens Pedersen, an analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by e-mail. “The short-term risks to the oil market are limited.”
Brent for August settlement was at $113.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 16 cents, at 1:12 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was about 48 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have climbed 2.3 percent this year.
WTI for August delivery was little changed after earlier sliding as much as 36 cents to $105.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 1.3 percent this week. The U.S. benchmark crude was at a discount of $7.48 to Brent on ICE, compared with $7.98 on June 20.