2020.01.0809:09:00UTC+00Oil Prices Pare Early Gains

Oil prices surged on Wednesday before giving up most early gains, hours after Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 0.4 percent to $68.56 a barrel, after earlier hitting as high as $71.75. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 0.3 percent at $62.87, after having touched $65.85, the highest since late April last year.

Initially, there were fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East. Those fears have ebbed somewhat after Iraq's military said it had no troop casualties in the Iranian strike and U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that "All is well!"

Iraq, Germany, Denmark and Norway said none of their troops were killed or injured.

"Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense," Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced on Twitter. "We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

Trump is expected to make a statement to the nation later today after consulting his security advisors.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates Energy Minister said today he hopes there would be no further escalation in the region and that he does not expect a shortage of supply in the absence of a catastrophic escalation.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will respond to any possible oil shortages if necessary but it has "limitations", he said.

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