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Oil prices rose by more than $2 a barrel in the third week of August on the back of renewed threats to Iraqi infrastructure and fears of unrest in Venezuela, with Riyadh’s reassuring statements falling on deaf ears. The latest US stock data was also bullish and the constant talk of potential capacity crunches and consequent price rises are becoming self-fulfilling. Spot Brent was trading at $43.91 a barrel on 18 August, compared with $41.57 a week earlier.