Middle East Tanker Attack Raises Oil Prices

Middle East Tanker Attack Raises Oil PricesMiddle East Tanker Attack Raises Oil Prices

Oil futures rose on Monday on increasing concerns about supply disruptions in the crucial producing region of the Middle East even as investors and traders fretted over global economic growth prospects amid a standoff in the Sino-US trade talks.
Brent crude futures were at $71.00 a barrel, up 38 cents, or 0.5%, CNBC reported.
US West Texas Intermediate futures were at $61.73 per barrel, up 7 cents, or 0.1%, from their previous settlement. 
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels targeted by a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, condemning it as an attempt to undermine the security of global crude supplies. 
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the largest and third-largest producers, respectively, in OPEC, according to the latest survey by Reuters. 
“Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, together with sharply declining oil supplies from Venezuela and Iran, will remain bullish for prices,” said Abhishek Kumar, head of analytics at Interfax Energy in London. 
Markets have been supported by Washington’s bid to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and reduce exports from Venezuela, where infrastructure problems have also cut output. 
The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers last year. 
Investors are also focused on tightened supplies following OPEC-led production cuts since the start of the year. There is a consensus that OPEC and its producer allies will extend the six-month output-cut agreement when they meet in June. 
But the trade friction between Washington and China, which intensified last week will keep a lid on prices, Kumar said.

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