Geopolitical worries drive up oil prices

New York futures rise as much as 3% as Trump warns of missile strikes

“People are paying attention to geopolitical risks,” said one trader. Photograph: Reuters

“People are paying attention to geopolitical risks,” said one trader. Photograph: Reuters

 

Geopolitics gripped crude oil markets from New York to London on Thursday afternoon, pushing prices to levels last seen in 2014.

Futures in New York jumped as much as 3 per cent as US president Donald Trump warned Russia that US missiles soon may strike Syria and Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile attack on the kingdom’s capital. A US government report on expanding domestic oil inventories barely fazed traders caught up in the rush of world events.

“People are paying attention to geopolitical risks,” said Matt Sallee, who helps manage $16 billion (€13 billion) in oil-related assets at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas. Traders “are more interested in the big picture.”

Drones

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia downed two Houthi drones, the Saudi Press Agency reported. A measure of oil market volatility jumped to levels last seen in mid-February.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery surged $1.59 to $67.10 a barrel at 11:26am on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded on Wednesday was about 87 percent above the 100-day average.

Brent for June settlement climbed $1.59 to $72.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. – Bloomberg