Soleimani killing adds uncertainty to oil market: Saxo Bank
Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, comments on the spike in oil prices following a US strike in Iran
The month-long rally in gold and not least oil has extended further on Friday following the U.S. strike against an Iranian general in Baghdad. Middle East tensions once again raise risk of supply disruptions while investors take shelter in gold as stocks falter and inflationary pressures emerge
The ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran hit a new high last Friday after a U.S. pre-dawn raid near Baghdad airport killed General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, and architect of its regional security apparatus. The raid also killed an Iraqi militia commander who had been accused by the U.S. of orchestrating the end of December attack on the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad.
These developments signal a worrying escalation in the Middle East with the markets now awaiting the response from Iran.
The market reaction has been swift with Brent crude oil reaching $69.15/b, the highest level since the September Aramco attacks in Saudi Arabia. Gold’s safe-haven credentials meanwhile have given a renewed boost and it has built further on the late December rally to now stand less than 1% from the September peak at $1557/oz.
Brent crude oil reached but failed to breach the downtrend from the April 2019 peak overnight. Above that level the next resistance will be the September 16 peak which occurred after the attack on Aramco facilities within Saudi Arabia. An attack that Iran was blamed to have carried out.
The combination of central bank stimulus and rising food and energy prices will only add to our view that inflation or the risk of rising inflation will become a theme in 2020.