Oil traders, who usually try to anticipate early signs of escalating violence in the Middle East, experienced quite a shock on Thursday when an Israeli army tweet hinted that Israel had hit Syria's airports.
Oil prices jumped by one dollar after news of the strike had spread. The markets often respond to geopolitical developments when traders surf the internet and social media networks for early warnings of risks that might impact oil supplies, such as the Arab uprisings or Iran's nuclear crisis.
The Israeli tweet was indeed correct, but not new. The tweet referred to attacks that occurred 40 years ago during the October War in 1973. The Israeli army decided to release the tweets on the anniversary of the war.
Although dealers quickly realized their mistake, oil prices remained high amidst hopes that a solution to the US budget and debt crisis is near, and in response to earlier concerns over political instability in Libya.
The price of Brent Crude rose from $110.40 a barrel to $111.50 after the posted tweet.