The price of oil eased slightly Tuesday after the U.S. said it was deploying a small group of troops to Iraq, which helped soothe fears somewhat over the prospect of disruption to crude supplies.
By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S crude for July delivery was down 18 cents to $106.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international oils, was up 12 cents to $113.06 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Up to 275 U.S. soldiers are being positioned in and around Iraq to protect the U.S. Embassy and other American interests as President Barack Obama weighs options for dealing with the al-Qaeda inspired militants who have captured a vast swath of the country's north.
Iraq's crude oil exports have so far not been disrupted but the conflict raises concern about whether the country can rebuild its oil infrastructure and meet global demand.
The International Energy Agency, which acts as a consultancy to developed economies, said its members' oil reserves were at a "comfortable level" and that the agency was ready to respond quickly to any supply disruptions caused by the turmoil in Iraq.
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