Oil posts its largest weekly gain since July on geopolitical tensions

Futures in New York rally for a fifth day to the highest level since 2014

FILE - This June 27, 2017, file photo shows an oil rig at sunset in Midland, Texas. President Donald Trump relentlessly congratulates himself for the healthy state of the U.S. economy, with its steady growth, low unemployment, busier factories and confident consumers. But in the year since Trump’s inauguration, most economists tend to agree on this: The economy has essentially been the same sturdy one that he inherited from Barack Obama. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
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Crude posted its largest weekly gain since July as geopolitical tensions threatened to accelerate the tightening of global supplies.

Futures rallied for a fifth day to the highest since 2014 in New York on Friday. The US benchmark crude ended the week up 8.6 pecent amid simmering disputes across the Mideast region that’s home to almost half the world’s oil. OPEC’s output has fallen to the lowest in almost three years, propelled in part by the magnitude of Venezuela’s downward spiral.

“We’re continuing to get a bit of a risk premium here from potential issues in the Middle East,” said Bart Melek, head of global commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto. “There’s a general consensus out there that this market is rebalancing.”

Oil in both New York and London jumped this week as missiles flew on the Saudi peninsula and US President Donald Trump threatened punishment for a chemical attack on civilians in Syria. At the same time, OPEC is probably on the verge of erasing a worldwide crude glut, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.


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“The tensions around what the US response to Syria is going to be” are elevating risks, said Ashley Petersen, lead oil analyst at Stratas Advisors  in New York. “It really does have the ability to escalate quickly.”

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery advanced 32 cents to settle at $67.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded was about 14 per cent above the 100-day average.

Brent for June settlement climbed 56 cents to end the session at $72.58 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the highest since November 2014. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.25 premium to June WTI.

Yuan-denominated futures for September delivery gained 0.4 per cent to 426.1 yuan per barrel on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange on Friday.

Less than 10 per cent of the oil-inventories surplus remains after OPEC and its partners curbed production by even more than they intended while world demand climbed, the International Energy Administration said on Friday.