Monday outlook: Oil prices rise again on Middle East tensions

Brent futures had climbed 26 cents, or 0.4% early on Monday, to $62.27 a barrel by 0314 GMT

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Distillation tank of oil refinery plant, twilight time.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Distillation tank of oil refinery plant, twilight time.

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  • Oil traders fear supply disruptions, prices rise
  • Asian shares edge higher
  • Most Gulf markets extend losses
  • Dollar remains unchanged, gold edges lower

Oil prices

Oil prices rose in early trading on Monday on trade tensions in the Middle East and comments from the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior”.

Prices had jumped as much as 4.5% on Thursday after the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Brent futures had climbed 26 cents, or 0.4% early on Monday, to $62.27 a barrel by 0314 GMT. They gained 1.1% on Friday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 17 cents, or 0.3%, at $52.68 a barrel. They rose 0.4% in the previous session.

“Growing tensions in the Middle East remain a cause for concern as traders fear supply disruptions over an escalation towards militaristic conflicts,” Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told Reuters.

Global markets

Asian shares edged up in early trading on Monday, but investors remained cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, after opening slightly weaker. Japan’s Nikkei average ticked up by a similar amount.

On Friday on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.16 points on Friday, or 0.07%, to 26,089.61, the S&P 500 lost 4.66 points, or 0.16%, to 2,886.98 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 40.47 points, or 0.52%, to 7,796.66.

“The week ahead is likely to provide some clarification for investors on three fronts that have been a source of uncertainty. The FOMC meeting, with updated forecasts, is centre stage,” Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, told Reuters.

Middle East markets

Most markets in the Gulf extended losses on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell 0.6 percent dragged lower mostly by banking shares. Alinma Bank, however, gained 0.4%, and was one of the stocks registering the highest trading volume on Sunday.

Dubai’s index dropped 0.7 percent as Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the emirate, fell 2.5%.

Abu Dhabi’s index retreated 0.2 percent as blue chip companies Aldar Properties , First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution were down 1.7%, 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively.

In Egypt, the index gained 0.2%, boosted by a 4.5% gain by Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investments.

Qatar’s index lost 0.3 percent, Kuwait’s premier market index fell 0.6 percent while Bahrain’s index edged up 0.1 percent and Oman’s index edged 0.1 percent lower.

Currencies

Positive U.S. retail sales data kept the dollar near a two-week high on Monday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was little changed at 97.479 after rising to 97.583 on Friday.

Precious metals

Gold prices edged lower on Monday on a stronger dollar.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,338.97 as of 0113 GMT.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,340.20 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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