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Oil surges, stock futures slip after attack on Saudi facility

Updated: 2019-09-16 07:55
A satellite image shows an apparent drone strike on an Aramco oil facility in Harad, Saudi Arabia September 14, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

SYDNEY - Oil prices surged to six-month highs on Monday while Wall Street futures turned lower and safe haven bets returned after weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia's crude facilities knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

US crude futures jumped 15% to the highest since May. It was last at $60.89 a barrel while Brent crude was up 13% at $68.06 after earlier rising to $71.95.

Signalling a weak start for Asian share markets, E-Minis for the S&P 500 were off 0.4% while those for the Dow eased 0.3%.

Liquidity in Asia is expected to be thin on Monday with Japan shut for a public holiday, which could exacerbate market volatility.

"Saturday's news of multiple drone attacks on Saudi Arabia Abqaiq petroleum processing facility is set to reverberate through global markets this week," said Ray Attrill, head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank.

In addition to massive supply disruptions, the attacks also heightened investor worries about the geopolitical situation in the region and worsening relations between Iran and the United States. Those concerns powered safe-haven assets with prices for gold climbing 1% in early Asian trade to $1,503.09.

The Yemeni Houthi group had claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit the world's biggest oil-processing facility but a senior US official told reporters on Sunday that evidence indicated Iran was behind it.

US President Donald Trump said late on Sunday the United States was "locked and loaded" for a potential response to the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities.

In currencies, the Saudi news pushed the yen up 0.2% to 107.8 per dollar while the Canadian dollar rose 0.5% in anticipation of higher oil prices.

The euro was little moved near a three-week top while the pound hovered near Friday's two-month highs. That left the greenback down 0.15% at 98.105 against a basket of six major currencies.



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