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Commodities: Crude futures rise on Libya oilfield shutdown, Middle East geopolitical tensions

By Andrew Schonberg

Date: Monday 10 Apr 2017

Commodities: Crude futures rise on Libya oilfield shutdown, Middle East geopolitical tensions

(ShareCast News) - Crude-oil futures are on the front foot on Monday afternoon following a shutdown at Libya's largest oilfield and heightened tensions in the Middle East after the US military's missile strike in Syria last week.
At about 15:37 GMT, Nymex-priced WTI crude was up 0.88% to $52.70 a barrel. Intercontinental Exchange-traded Brent was 0.74% up to $55.65 a barrel.

The price of both grades of the black liquid firmed after Libya's Sharara oilfield was shut on Sunday.

This followed a group having blocked a pipeline linking the field to an oil terminal, a report said. The field had only just returned to output after a week-long stoppage, reported Reuters.

"It means that at least one potential source of additional supply has fallen away for the time being," Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank told Reuters, referring to the Libya stoppage.

Crude is in the midst of a global supply glut, with markets focusing on Opec output pledges, rising US rig counts and inventories, and shale production.

More generally, the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have been heightened after the US launched a missile strike on an airbase in Syria linked to an alleged chemical attack in that country's long-running civil war.

At about 15:37 GMT, on Comex, gold was down 0.38% to $1252.5 an ounce. Silver fell 1.93% to $17.80 an ounce, and copper shed 1.49% to 260.75 cents a pound.

This followed gold's run higher last week on against a cloth of factors.

Mihir Kapadia, chief executive and founder of Sun Global Investments, was quoted by MarketWatch as stating that the yellow metal still possessed safe-haven appeal.

"If geopolitical tensions increase across the world, the safe-haven demand for gold could return and keep gold prices buoyant," he said.

On London Metals Exchange, three-month industrial metals were mostly lower. Zinc fell 1.32%, tin lost 0.42%, and copper eased 0.41%. Aluminum was up 0.46%.

Meanwhile, iron ore's prices have descended into bear territory, with Barclays pinning the blame on lower steel demand in China driving a shift from mills toward lower-quality ore and raising the prospect of a drop into the $50s, Bloomberg reported.

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