Economy

Brent crude rises above $73 amid Middle East tensions

Brent crude rises above $73 amid Middle East tensions

The fundamentals behind oil are likely to remain shaky in the longer-term as increasing United States output complicates Opec's [the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] efforts to prop prices higher and rebalance markets.

A more direct intervention in Syria would cause geopolitical fractures along multiple lines, given the potential for a response from USA adversaries ranging from Russian Federation to Hezbollah.

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, reported a 1.8-million-barrel jump in USA stockpiles and a 2-million-barrel rise in gasoline stockpiles.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

Trump has criticized Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US WTI crude futures were at US$65.63 a barrel, up 12 US cents from their last settlement. The contract earlier rose to $73.09, the highest level since November 28, 2014, when it hit $73.41. During the session, WTI rose as high as $67.45/Bbl, a peak going back to December 4, 2014, when it touched $68.22/Bbl, Kallanish Energy reports.

Brent crude rises above $73 amid Middle East tensions
Brent crude rises above $73 amid Middle East tensions

Experts are sure the morning price spike was completely due to the Trump tweet, which left the market to parse the president's meaning. The question, he said, is whether Trump will order the military to exclusively target Syrian assets, or take aim at Iran, which also backs Assad and has a significant presence in Syria.

Kilduff said: "That's the crux of the matter". The attacks mark the fourth time in five months that missiles have flown over Riyadh, as the Houthis step up efforts to demonstrate that they can reach the Saudi capital.

OPEC's latest report reveals that oil stocks in the developed world fell by 17.4 million barrels in February to 2.854 billion barrels.

In its monthly short-term energy outlook, the agency forecast that United States crude oil output will rise by 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11.44 million bpd next year. The EIA showed stocks had grown by 3.3m barrels while analysts had expected a 207,000 barrel draw.

"Trade wars now seem quite petty compared to the prospect of conflict, but the limited reaction in equities might suggest the market is not prepared to "sell the rumour and buy the fact" just yet", Beauchamp said.

More news: Missiles coming, Trump warns Syria and Russia


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