Oil Prices Jump Amid Middle East Tensions


Investing.com – Oil prices jumped on Monday in Asia as tensions in the Middle East escalated.

U.S. WTI rose 2.5% to $64.65 by 10:50 PM ET (02:50 GMT), while International Brent surged 3.0% to $70.69.

Heightened tension in the Middle East were cited as the catalyst for the buying of oil today. The Trump administration carried out a rocket attack that killed Iran’s top military strategist, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad last week.

Following the attack, Iran said on Sunday it no longer considers itself bound by the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with the U.S. and other world powers

Trump said he was prepared to strike “in a disproportionate manner” and attack more than 50 Iranian sites if Tehran retaliates against the killing of Soleimani, while the Middle East nation said it has to “settle a score with the U.S.”

“Everyone got comfortable in that fact that the truce in the trade war had come through and the outlook for 2020 looked a little bit better and then we had another geopolitical reminder come through,” said Suncorp Group Financial Market Strategist Peter Dragicevich. “It’s going to be a big driver of markets in the short term.”

In other news, China’s trade delegation, led by Vice-Premier Liu He, will travel to the U.S. to sign a phase one trade deal on Jan. 15. Phase two negotiations will begin “at a later date,” according to Trump.

“I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!” the President said in a tweet.

On the data front, the final U.S. jobs report of 2019 showed that 266,000 jobs were added in November, the most in 10 months while the jobless rate of 3.5% was the lowest in half a century. December’s jobs growth is forecast to have eased to 160,000.

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