Oil jumps after attack in Iran blamed on Israel

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Friday around 6:40 a.m., a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in June was trading at 88.85 dollars, up sharply by 2.2%, after having lost 0.2% the previous evening to 87.11 dollars. . The 159 liters of the American equivalent West Texas Intermediate (WTI) were worth 84.43 dollars, up 2.18%, after remaining in balance on Thursday evening.

Loud explosions were reported in central Iran on Friday morning, with senior US officials saying an Israeli attack was in retaliation for unprecedented drone and missile strikes against Israel last weekend. Tehran reported three explosions near a military base in the center of the country, the official Fars agency reported.

Another official Iranian news agency, Irna, subsequently indicated that “no major damage” had been reported after the explosions heard at dawn. “Following the activation of air defense in certain regions of the country,” “no damage or large-scale explosions have been reported,” the agency said, based on information reported by its journalists .

The United States informed

In the central province of Isfahan, where the explosions were heard, “important installations, particularly nuclear, are completely safe and no accidents have been reported there,” IRNA added. Furthermore, the secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council denied press reports according to which this body chaired by the President of the Islamic Republic, Ebrahim Raïssi, had organized an emergency meeting on Friday following these explosions, according to the Tasnim agency.

Washington was warned of the Israeli attack on Iran, but neither approved the operation nor played any role in its execution, officials were quoted as saying by US media. NBC and CNN, citing sources familiar with the matter and a US official respectively, reported that Israel had warned Washington of the strike. “We have not approved the response,” a US official said, according to CNN. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) also reported explosions in southern Syria, and other explosions were reported in Iraq.

The reimposition of US sanctions on Venezuelan oil and potential new European Union (EU) restrictions on Iran also supported oil markets. The United States and the United Kingdom strengthened their sanctions against the Islamic Republic on Thursday, targeting in particular the Iranian drone program.

The prices of black gold had started to fall on Monday, “operators are reducing the geopolitical risk premium”, in the absence of a new direct Israeli attack after that of Iran which targeted the Hebrew state on Saturday evening , José Torres noted again Thursday evening. , from Interactive Brokers. Additionally, demand uncertainties also weighed on the market following weak March economic data for China, the largest crude oil importer, and fears that the US Federal Reserve might delay rate cuts. of interest next year.

According to Phil Flynn, prices had also been put under pressure by the possibility of sales of crude oil taken from the US strategic reserves (SPR). “Some things have been done in the past” to lower prices, “and we will continue to closely monitor (market developments) and ensure that gasoline prices remain affordable,” warned Thursday Lael Brainard. , Joe Biden’s main economic advisor.

On Tuesday, another adviser to the American president, John Podesta, made even clearer remarks. “The president has already done it (relying on his strategic reserves). He wants to keep the price of gasoline at a reasonable level and he will do everything he can to achieve this,” declared Joe Biden’s advisor, now the head of state’s international climate envoy.

Between September 2021 and July 2023, the United States drained some 274 million barrels of its strategic reserves (SPR), or about 44% of the total. At the end of this phase, SPRs fell to their lowest level in 40 years.

Since June 2023, the US government has started buying back crude on the market to strengthen these reserves. “They had switched to buying (to replenish reserves) and now, they are returning to potential selling mode,” underlined Phil Flynn, for whom this change of posture damaged the price of black gold on Thursday.

This article is originally published on news.dayfr.com

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