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The West Texas Intermediate ("WTI") crude price closed yesterday at a 26-month high of $110.10 a barrel on jitters over possible Western intervention in Syria's ongoing internal conflict. It traded under $110 today.

WTI has jumped 27% since hitting the 2013 low of $86.68 on April 17.

The rise in oil prices isn't only a Syria story, however. Prices are up in August, but just by 4.2%. Oil was already rising well before the Syrian conflict escalated.

Check out the 1-year chart of electronic NYMEX trading:

Issues that are impacting oil prices include:

  1. Unrest in Syria which is causing jitters regarding Iran/Iraq production if the conflict spreads.
  2. Libyan production at lows last seen when Qaddafi left power in 2011.
  3. Nigerian production dropped to 4-year lows of just 1.9 million barrels a day this summer due to oil theft, sabotage and technical problems.
  4. Venezuela production is up slightly in the first six months of the year but recent fires and layoffs are seen impacting production.
  5. It's hurricane season in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. While this season has been quiet, so far, there is still another 2 months left in the season. There is always the possibility of production disruptions due to storms.
Should investors be worried about oil prices again?


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