Oil prices soared today amid fears that Syria’s suspected attack using chemical weapons could increase the prospect of more military action in the Middle East. Brent crude was up by 25 cents to $110.98 a barrel, while US oil gained by 28 cents to settle at $106.20 a barrel, reported Reuters.
Claiming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians in the country last week, the US Government has put him on notice. The US and its allies met in Jordan which is expected to be a council of war, should they decide to punish al-Assad, who has denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for staging such attacks. Investors feared that the Syrian crisis could spread into the Middle East and disrupt oil supplies.
On the other hand, recent data on weak US housing and durable goods order has increased speculation that the Federal Reserve could start trimming its stimulus in September. The American Petroleum Institute (API) is due to release its weekly oil stocks report later on Tuesday. A Reuters survey showed that US commercial crude stockpiles decreased last week due to increased refinery utilisation rates and gasoline inventories dipped, primarily owing to seasonal factors.
Libya’s largest port Es Sider remains shut, while the Marsa al-Brega port has resumed crude shipments. Workers’ protests reduced exports from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ member nation to the lowest levels since its 2011 civil war.