The Saudi oil attacks have triggered the steepest crude market price surge in 30 years and stoked fears for the global economy.
The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure led to the biggest jump in global prices since 1988 by wiping out 5.7m barrels of production a day – 5% of the world’s oil supply.
The price of Brent crude surged by more than $12 (£9.60) a barrel within seconds as trading began in London, quickly climbing to highs of $70.88 – a rise of more than 19% – before settling lower in a day of record-breaking oil trading. By Monday evening oil was trading at nearly $69, up 15% on the day.
Oil futures trading reached a new all-time record on the Intercontinental Exchange as traders placed more than 2m bets on the future price of oil as a hedge against more market volatility.
Meanwhile, the energy price shock reverberated through global markets, driving up shares in energy companies on the prospect of higher profits, while stock exchanges across Europe plunged into the red as investors took fright over rising geopolitical tensions.
Oil market analysts claim prices could surge towards $100 a barrel in the coming weeks if Middle East tensions lead to renewed disruption in the strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world’s oil tankers.
Geoffrey Smith, a director at the market data firm Refinitiv, said Saudi Arabia has “resumed loading oil from its storage reserves to make up for the break over the weekend – but in the longer terms its exports are in doubt.