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Oil prices soar after top Iranian general killed by US in Baghdad

Oil prices have increased rapidly on Friday after the news that the US had killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani killed in Iraq, amid the fear that the action could escalate tensions in the region and affect global oil production.

According to the international media, European stocks also fell at the open on Friday, with investors upset after the US strike.

Global stock markets had powered ahead on Thursday as investors welcomed 2020 with a raft of gains after China’s central bank announced fresh stimulus, but the recent political turmoil has turned the tide of the markets.

Mike Pompeo phones to COAS Gen Qamar amid US-Iran tensions

The Iranian general was hit in an attack on Baghdad’s international airport early Friday.

The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF.

Later, the US President Donald Trump tweeted in a series confirming that he had ordered the killing of Iranian general. The tweet also posted a picture of the American flag.

Iran warned the US of “severe vengeance”, the country’s foreign minister called the move a “dangerous escalation”.

Markets had all been well up before news of the strike, after China-US trade agreement, looser central bank monetary policies and easing Brexit worries.

According to the latest price of oil, after the fresh tension escalated between the US and Iran, Brent surged 4.4 percent to $69.16 and WTI jumped 4.3 percent to $63.84 as investors grow increasingly worried about the effects of a possible flare-up in the tinderbox the Middle East on supplies of the commodity. Both oil contracts later pared the gains but remained well up.

In early European trade, London fell 0.5 percent, Paris lost 0.6 percent and Frankfurt retreated 0.8 percent.

In initial trade, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies reversed 0.3 percent to 7,578.79 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index slipped 0.9 percent 13,267.38 points and the Paris CAC 40 shed 0.6 percent to 6,014.18 compared with the close on Thursday.

Stocks also fell broadly on Wall Street in early trading on Friday.

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