UPDATE 10-Oil prices rise 2% after tanker attacks near Iran


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    * Both crude benchmarks jump as much as 4.5%
    * U.S. Navy assisting tankers after distress calls
    * Position of tankers: https://tmsnrt.rs/2X6nIQF 
    * U.S. crude stocks rise further: https://tmsnrt.rs/2XkQF8e

 (Updates prices, adds Pompeo statement)
    By Collin Eaton
    HOUSTON, June 13 (Reuters) - Oil prices settled 2.2% higher
on Thursday after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman
stoked concerns of reduced crude trade flows through one of the
world's key shipping routes. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23K1S2
    The attacks near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz reignited
worries about an impact to flows from the Middle East if
insurance companies begin to reduce coverage for voyages through
the region and additional shipping companies suspend new
bookings, analysts said. 
    Such a disruption "could further exacerbate the supply
problem," said Andy Lipow, an analyst at Lipow Oil Associates in
    Oil tanker owners DHT Holdings and Heidmar suspended new
bookings to the Mid-East Gulf, three ship brokers said.
    "This is the second attack in a month's time," said John
Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. "It raises
the ante for insurance risk." 
    Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since U.S.
President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 multinational
nuclear pact with Iran and reimposed sanctions, notably
targeting Tehran's oil exports. 
    Iran, which has distanced itself from the previous attacks,
has said it would not be cowed by what it called psychological
    The episode also fed fears of a new confrontation between
Iran and the United States, which blamed Tehran for the
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States
has assessed Iran was behind the attacks, and arrived at its
conclusion based on intelligence, weapons used and the level of
expertise needed for the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of
    Also supporting oil bulls were signs that Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members were close to
agreeing on continued production cuts.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N23J3ZW

    Brent crude futures  LCOc1  settled up $1.34, or 2.23%, at
$61.31, having risen as much as 4.5% to $62.64. 
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures  CLc1  were up
$1.14, or 2.23%, at $52.28 a barrel. WTI earlier rose as much as
4.5% to $53.45.     
    U.S. stocks rose after two days of declines, with the S&P
energy index rising the most among the 11 major S&P sectors.
    Analysts said the price swings were subdued by recent grim
forecasts for global crude demand. 
    "It's a surprise that the market reaction has been so
muted," said Derek Brower, a director at RS Energy Group. "For
traders, worries about the weakening global oil-demand picture
are front of mind and enough to trump real, live geopolitical
threats to physical supply." 
    Global crude demand growth will come in at 70,000 barrels
per day (bpd) less than previously expected this year, around
1.14 million bpd, OPEC projected in its monthly oil market
report.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N23K396
    "Significant downside risks from escalating trade disputes
spilling over to global demand growth remain," OPEC said in the
    The U.S. Energy Department this week lowered its forecast of
global demand to 1.2 million bpd, down by 200,000 bpd from its
May forecast. 
    Analysts have also revised global oil demand growth
forecasts lower after the U.S.-China trade war has escalated
since last month with an expanding exchange of tariffs. 
    Energy consultancy FGE and British bank Barclays this week
revised down their global oil demand growth forecasts to around
1 million bpd from around 1.3 million bpd.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23J28C
    The forecast revisions come as investors grow increasingly
worried about trade talks between the United States and China,
which may be revived at the G20 summit in Japan in late June. 
    "The market has settled into the idea that trade
negotiations will be protracted," said Harry Tchilinguirian,
global head of commodities research at BNP Paribas. "Naturally,
the extension of trade disputes could weigh on economic growth."
    Both crude benchmarks are set for their biggest daily rises
since early January, but they are nevertheless headed for a
weekly loss.
    Oil prices had slumped in the previous session on an
unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles  USOILC=ECI  and a
dimming outlook for global oil demand.  EIA/S   urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23J0NR
    For an interactive graphic on U.S. crude stocks, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2XkQF8e

TECHNICALS-Brent oil may bounce into $60.71-$61.39    
Interactive graphic on U.S. crude stocks    https://tmsnrt.rs/2XkQF8e
Graphic on world oil balance:    https://tmsnrt.rs/2R36azu
TECHNICALS-U.S. oil may bounce to $52.33 before falling   
Position of evacuated tankers in Gulf of Oman    https://tmsnrt.rs/2X6nIQF
Brent crude movements    https://tmsnrt.rs/2RapRFG
 (Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London and Aaron
Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Phil
 ((Collin.eaton@thomsonreuters.com; 713-210-8509))

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