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Oil soars after attack on Saudi facilities, stocks weaken

Saudi Aramco employees [Notizie Economiche/Twitter]
Saudi Aramco logo [Notizie Economiche/Twitter]

Oil prices soared on Monday after attacks on crude facilities in Saudi Arabia sparked worries over the impact of an oil shock on economic growth, halting a positive run in world stocks as investors reached for less risky assets, Reuters reports.

Increased demand for safe-haven US debt pushed Treasury yields lower, while gold and the safe-haven currencies, including the Japanese yen and Swiss franc, strengthened.

The attack on Saudi Arabia shut 5% of global crude output. US officials blamed Iran and President Donald Trump said Washington was “locked and loaded” to retaliate.

Oil prices surged nearly 20% at one point on Monday, with Brent crude posting its biggest intraday gain since the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis, before paring gains to trade up about 10 percent on the day.

Trump approved the use of US emergency oil reserves to ensure stable supply, helping steady oil prices some.

“This justifies a risk premium on the oil price, so prices are initially unlikely to return to the levels at which they were trading before the attacks,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, Germany.

US crude rose 11.43% to $61.12 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.26, up 11.69% on the day.

Iran: Rouhani-Trump meeting will not happen

Saudi Arabia officials are discussing delaying Aramco’s initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The upheaval in the oil market coupled with and poor economic data from China served to sour investors’ appetite for risky assets.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, snapped a five-day winning streak to trade down 0.29%.

Wall Street slipped as the jump in the price of oil presented yet another headwind for a global economy that is already buffeted by deteriorating manufacturing activity and elevated trade tensions, analysts said.

“There are enough global growth worries without it, but I think the oil spike, higher prices globally could slow world spending on items other than oil, and I think that’s the main concern,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Monday’s rapid spike in crude prices came at a time when central banks in the United States, Europe and Asia are easing monetary policy to fight a slowdown in the global economy amid a drawn-out trade war between Washington and Beijing.

The US Federal Reserve is due to hold its next policy meeting on Wednesday, at which it is widely expected to ease interest rates and signal its future policy path.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 108.16 points, or 0.4%, to 27,111.36, the S&P 500 lost 6.99 points, or 0.23%, to 3,000.4 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.73 points, or 0.19%, to 8,160.99.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.37%.

US Treasury yields slipped with benchmark 10-year notes up 11/32 in price to yield 1.8607%.

In FX markets, currencies linked to the price of oil rose, while the Japanese yen and Swiss franc strengthened as nervous investors sought safety.

Gold rose after the attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia inflamed worries over the stability of the Middle East, boosting demand for assets seen as a haven from risk. Spot gold was up 1.02% at $1,503.69 per ounce.

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Asia & AmericasIranMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUS
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