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Talking Points

- The independence referendum by Kurds in northern Iraq has led to fears that oil supplies from the region could be curtailed.

- However, crude prices have steadied after Monday’s surge higher.

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The independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan has led to a sharp rise in crude oil prices on concerns that supplies from the region could be blocked. However, prices have since stabilized despite continuing verbal attacks on the Iraqi Kurds by neighboring states.

Ethnic Kurds in semi-autonomous oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan are expected to have voted overwhelmingly for independence in the poll called by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which controls the area. However, the decision to hold the vote has been criticized by Iraq, the United Nations, the US, Russia and the UK, as well as neighboring countries with sizable Kurdish minorities such as Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Still, after their steep climbs Monday and early Tuesday in Asia, prices of the international benchmark Brent and the US benchmark WTI crude oil have failed to make any further gains in European trading.

Chart: US Crude Oil Five-Minute Timeframe (September 25-26, 2017)

Crude Oil Price Stabilizes After Rise on Kurdish Independence Poll

Chart by IG

At $58.93 per barrel, the Brent crude price touched its highest level in Asia Tuesday since July 2015 as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, worried about a potential rise in separatist sentiment among Turkey’s minority Kurdish population, threatened to cut off the pipeline that carries oil from northern Iraq to the rest of the world.

--- Written by Martin Essex, Analyst and Editor

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