Oil prices rose on Wednesday, hitting a seven-week peak as violence in Syria and tensions with Iran reinforced geopolitical fears and U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke downplayed the risk of a double-dip recession, as per Reuters. The Fed does not expect the U.S. economy to lurch back into recession, Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee in a second day of congressional testimony that helped alleviate worries about slowing demand for oil in a sluggish economy.
Brent September crude rose by over a dollar to US $105.1 while August crude on the Nymex rose to US$89.8, having reached $90.04, also the best intraday since May 30.
Syria's defense minister and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and a top general were killed in suicide bomb attack carried out by a bodyguard on Wednesday, bringing the battle to the heart of Assad's government that has been dealing with a 16-month-old rebellion. An explosion killed at least four Israeli tourists on a bus outside a Bulgarian airport and Israel blamed Iran, promising a strong response.