Yerevan, 19.January.2018,
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Shares struggle, oil firms on Iraq anxiety

Investors tensions over fighting in Iraq and Ukraine saw a global shift into traditional safe-haven currencies, precious metals and bonds on Monday, and oil hovered near a nine-month high, Reuters reports. The mood also spread to share markets. The Nikkei in Tokyo saw its biggest fall in a month and European bourses .FTEU3 started 0.2 percent in the red having just about held on for a ninth week of back-to-back gains on Friday. Worries about Iraq were intensifying after Sunni insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized a mainly ethnic Turkmen city in the northwest of the country over the weekend. It continued to drive fears about widespread turmoil in the country and region. Iraq is oil cartel OPEC's second largest producer and Brent was up 0.5 percent to $113.02 per barrel as trading in London gathered pace, although it was some distance from Friday's nine-month high of $114.69. "It looks like the country is headed to civil war, which will mean a higher risk premium built into oil prices," said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp. The rising oil prices and shrinking risk appetite weighed on emerging Asian currencies particularly, with the rupee hitting a five-week low and the rupiah and the South Korean won also withering. It was a boon for safe-havens though. Among the major currencies the yen and Swiss franc rose EMRG/FRX, while gold hit its highest in nearly three weeks at $1,277.80 an ounce. Iraq wasn't the only source of concern either. Hopes of Ukraine coming off the boil were dashed after pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army transport plane, killing all 49 military personnel on board. On top of that, Russian gas exporter Gazprom GAZP.MM said on Monday that Ukraine had failed to pay at least part of its gas debts and would now have to pay up front for deliveries, suggesting that supplies could be cut. Russian shares fell sharply, with the dollar-denominated RTS index down 2.5 percent and Gazprom down 2.0 percent at 143.47 rubles.
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