Oil prices trade near 5-month high
LONDON, April 9, 2019 – Oil prices gained on Tuesday in Asia and traded near a 5-month high, supported by concerns on Libya supply disruptions.
US Crude Oil WTI Futures was up 0.2% to $64.54 by 12:10 AM ET (04:10 GMT), the highest level since November 2018.
International Brent Oil Futures inched up 0.1% to $71.19, also the highest level in 5 months.
Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman who controls eastern Libya, reportedly attempted to enter the capital Tripoli. His army continued its push on Sunday and conducted airstrikes on a road leading to the capital. At least 35 people have been killed in clashes since last week, Bloomberg reported.
Libya is a significant supplier of oil to Europe, producing around 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in March.
“The new uncertainty on Libya adds to the uncertainty of the waivers on Iran and to the supply destruction in Venezuela,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix, an oil market consultancy in Zug, Switzerland.
Oil prices also received some support this month as better-than-expected economic data from China and the US eased concerns of a global recession.
While not a major directional driver, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih said on Monday that markets were moving “in the right direction” and were on their way toward rebalancing.
OPEC and its ten other producer allies led by Russia were expected to vote for extended production cuts at an upcoming meeting in June. However, Falih indicated that a decision might be taken at a lower-key technical grouping in May, and it may not necessarily be an extension.