Commodities: WTI pushes to five-month high on geopolitics

(Sharecast News) – Energy futures paced gains at the start of the week, with reports at the weekend of increased fighting in Libya helping to prop up crude oil futures.

Putting a further bid into oil futures, late in the session news broke that Washington had designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organisation.

Against that backdrop, as of 1937 BST front month Brent crude oil futures were adding 1.0% to $71.04 a barrel on the ICE, with a retreat of 0.36% to 97.0460 for the US dollar spot index helping traders to look past data showing that the number of onshore oil rigs in the States jumped by 15 last week to hit 831.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for prompt month delivery meanwhile added 1.97% to $64.32 a barrel on the NYMEX, their best level in just over five months.

Reports on Monday morning indicated that forces loyal to Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar, had launched an offensive against the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli, attacking its airport.

The dip in the US dollar also fed into the price of gold, pushing the June contract on COMEX up by 0.49% to $1,302.0/oz..

Copper was also higher amid reports, also over the weekend, of continued progress being made in trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

That saw May futures for the industrial metal add 1.40% to $2.9350 a pound on COMEX.

In remarks on broadcaster CBS’s programme ‘Face the Nation’, on Sunday, White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the two countries were “closer and closer” to inking a deal.

Talks would continue over the next week with “a lot of teleconferencing”, Kudlow said.

Putting the mood in markets into context, analysts at Sucden Financial said: “Relatively quiet start to the new week with LME metals range bound, but a little firmer as signs of progress in the US/China trade talks continued to be supportive.

“After the strong performances last week, major equity indices trading a little lower today with the Dow ahead of the Q1 corp. earnings reports.”

Grain prices on the other hand were lower, with May-dated wheat on CBoT down by 0.86% to $4.6375 a bushel.