Oil prices surge after suspected attacks on tankers

NEW YORK, World oil prices rose Thursday

following suspected attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, worsening

frayed tensions in the cruderich Middle East region.

The rise in oil prices jumping as much as 4.5 percent before pulling

back somewhat boosted share prices of energy companies, while global stock

markets also won some support from the prospect of US interest rate cuts this

year.

The Gulf of Oman lies at the other end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz

from the Gulf, part of a vital shipping lane through which at least 15

million barrels of crude oil and hundreds of millions of dollars of nonoil

imports pass each day.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of responsibility for the

incidents and said the United States would raise the attacks at a UN Security

Council meeting scheduled for later Thursday. Iran labelled the attacks

suspicious.

US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery finished up 2.2

percent at $52.28. The advance marked a reversal from a sharp fall on

Wednesday following a bearish US oil inventory report.

Tension across the Middle East is high and the attacks on two tankers

has further exacerbated the situation, even though there does not appear to

have been any damage to the cargos, said John Hall, chairman of British

based consultancy Alfa Energy.

A note from Eurasia Group said the incidents appear aimed at

demonstrating the vulnerability of Gulf shipping while damaging confidence in

the US ability to protect freedom of navigation. Gains in oil prices have

been constrained by high inventories and concerns about the global economy,

it added.

In equity markets, gains by petroleumlinked shares lifted Wall Street

shares. The S and P 500 finished up 0.4 percent, snapping a twoday losing

streak.

From a broader perspective, the stock market has traded sideways over the

last four sessions as it waits for further policy guidance from the Fed and

for any updates on the USChina trade front, said Briefing.com

Stocks elsewhere were mixed, with Frankfurt gaining, Tokyo retreating and

London and Paris flat.

Key figures around 2100 GMT

Oil Brent North Sea: UP $1.34 at $61.31 per barrel

Oil West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.14 at $52.28 per barrel

New York Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 26,106.77 (close)

New York S and P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 2,891.64 (close)

New York Nasdaq: UP 0.6 percent at 7,837.13 (close)

London FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,368.57 (close)

Frankfurt DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,169.05 (close)

Paris CAC 40: FLAT at 5,375.63 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,390.50 (close)

Tokyo Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 21,032.00 (close)

Hong Kong Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 27,294.71 (close)

Shanghai Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 2,910.74 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1276 from $1.1287 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2674 from $1.2737

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.38 yen from 108.50 yen

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)