|21 May, 2019

Tuesday outlook: Oil prices rise on geopolitical tensions

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.03 per barrel at 0118 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Oil rigs extract petroleum as the price of crude oil rises to nearly $120 per barrel, prompting oil companies to reopen numerous wells across the nation that were considered tapped out and unprofitable decades ago when oil sold for one-fifth the price or less, on April 25, 2008 in the Los Angeles area community of Culver City, California.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Oil rigs extract petroleum as the price of crude oil rises to nearly $120 per barrel, prompting oil companies to reopen numerous wells across the nation that were considered tapped out and unprofitable decades ago when oil sold for one-fifth the price or less, on April 25, 2008 in the Los Angeles area community of Culver City, California.

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Oil prices

Oil prices rose in early trading on Tuesday on escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with “great force” if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East. Iran said on Tuesday that it would resist U.S. pressure, declining further talks under current circumstances.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.03 per barrel at 0118 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up by 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $63.22 per barrel.

According to a Reuters report, ANZ bank said the rising tension in the Middle East meant a “risk premium is reflected in the price” of crude oil.

Global markets

Asian shares edged up early on Tuesday as the U.S. temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China’s Huawei, but investors remained on edge as fears of an escalation in trade tensions between the world’s biggest two economies weighed on sentiment.

Washington allowed Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets until Aug. 19.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.35% but stayed not far from a four-month low touched on Friday.

“With the news around the U.S. and Huawei taking a turn for the worse, it seems that the trade war is increasingly showing signs of becoming a tech war,” Seema Shah, senior global investment Strategist at Principal Global Investors in London, told Reuters.

“The further this trend develops, the bigger the collateral damage will be – particularly in Asia and the U.S., but the ripple effect will be significant across the globe.”

Middle East markets

Saudi Arabia’s index dropped 0.7 percent on Monday as Al Rajhi Bank fell 0.7% and Saudi Basic Industries was off by 1.3%.

The Dubai index edged 0.3% lower, pressured by its financial stocks. Commercial Bank of Dubai dropped 8.8% while Amlak Finance dropped 5.2%.

Abu Dhabi's index ended flat. Axa Green Crescent Insurance Co dropped 10% and Gulf Medical Projects Co dipped 3.3%.

Qatar's index was up 0.3% with Gulf International Services and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co rising 10% each.

Egypt's blue-chip index was down 1%, losing for a fourth straight day, with 23 of its 30 stocks sliding.

Kuwait’s premier market index was mainly flat, Bahrain’s index dropped 0.2 percent and Oman’s index fell 0.4 percent.

Currencies

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was a shade higher at 97.965 after brushing 98.036 overnight, its highest since May 3.

Precious metals

Gold prices dropped on Tuesday.

Spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,275.61 per ounce at 0334 GMT.

U.S. gold futures also eased 0.2% to $1,275.20 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

( gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)

© ZAWYA 2019

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