Today’s Energy Update
(Because Energy Fuels Our Lives)
Here is a rundown of six big factors and events impacting crude prices as the first half of 2019 nears its end.
The “fear premium” redux. – Crude prices rose dramatically on Thursday after it was revealed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot an unmanned U.S. drone out of the sky as it flew near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Oil markets are always sensitive to any conflict taking place near this key choke point, through which about 20% of global crude supply makes its way to market each day.
President Donald Trump’s cautious approach to responding to Iran’s latest provocation appeared to calm the markets on Friday . After jumping by more than 5% in Thursday’s trading, WTI rose by slightly less than 1% Friday.
Rather than escalating armed conflict with a conventional military response, the Associated Press reported Saturday that President Trump had ordered a cyber attack on computer systems that control Iran’s rocket and missile launchers. That report was based purely on anonymous sources, but if it turns out be accurate, such a non-violent approach could further calm touchy markets on Monday.
The jump in crude price isn’t only about Iran. – While most reports attributed last week’s 10% rise in crude prices to the situation with Iran, the reality is that the price had already run up by 5% by close of trading on Wednesday. In fact, WTI actually dropped to $51.79/bbl on Monday due to ongoing bearish factors, before jumping up to $54.05 in Tuesday’s trading after President Trump tweeted early that morning that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would be holding side meetings at the upcoming G-20 Summit in Japan. Wednesday’s report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that crude inventories had dropped the previous week also kept the upwards price momentum going before news of the Iran strike broke.
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