Oil prices up in Asian trade as Yemen, Iraq tensions raise supply cut worries


SINGAPORE–Oil prices rose in Asia Monday as fresh tensions in Yemen and Iraq raised concerns about a supply disruption in the crude-rich Middle East, analysts said. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained 21 cents to US$59.90 while Brent crude for July rose 18 cents to US$66.99 in afternoon trade.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition air strikes resumed against rebel positions in Yemen’s south after a five-day cease-fire expired late Sunday, as fighting raged between Shiite Huthi rebels and loyalists of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. And Islamic State fighters have seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi in a deadly three-day blitz, with the effective loss of the capital of Iraq’s largest province becoming Baghdad’s worst military setback since it started clawing back land from the jihadists late last year. Vandana Hari, editorial director at global commodity information provider Platts, said the oil market remains ��volatile�� due to geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

��Traders are keeping a close eye on the situation in that region as it has an impact on global oil supply,�� said Hari.

Yemen is not a major oil-producing country, but its coast forms one side of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the key strategic entry point into the Red Sea through which some 4.7 million barrels of oil pass each day on ships headed to or from the Suez Canal.