Futures Market News
Crude oil futures climb amid Greek debt deal, sanctions against Iran
Feb 21, 2012 02:24 PM
Crude oil futures pushed to their highest value since May on Tuesday, according to published reports.
Bloomberg reports one driver of the increase in value was euro zone finance ministers signing off on a second bailout for debt-hobbled Greece, which appears prepared to stave off defaulting on financial obligations before they rear next month.
Preoccupations about the supply of oil in Europe also drove oil prices higher on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. Oil-rich Iran said over the weekend it will cease selling the energy commodity to Britain and France, which is the Middle Eastern nation's answer to the European oil embargo against it that is set to begin this summer.
But that move is not expected to be too damaging since the two European nations import a minimal amount of oil from Iran. The move indicates Iran's proclivity to come on strong with additional European nations that import larger amounts of the energy commodity from Iran.
Two European nations, Italy and Spain, acquire roughly 18 percent of the oil that Iran exports, according to The Associated Press.
"People are just scared about Iran," independent analyst and trader Stephen Schork told the news service. "It was a big head fake, but crude prices are still ripping" higher in value.
At 2:27 p.m. on Tuesday, crude oil futures increased 1.41 percent, a $1.69 lift to $121.74 per barrel.
Western nations' restrictions against oil from Iran are based on the belief that the Middle Eastern nation is attempting to build a nuclear weapon, which has prompted a months-long standoff. By applying financial pressure, western nations are aiming to force Iran into ceasing its nuclear program.
The European Union is aiming to cease its purchases of oil manufactured from Iran after July. But if Iran cuts back on selling oil to some European nations prior to implementation of the embargo, refineries will be compelled to locate alternate sources for the energy commodity.
Analysts said demand for oil and its prices would climb higher once the pursuit of alternate oil sources ensues.
"We have every reason to expect to see prices advance on this latest Iranian news," analyst Peter Beutel with Cameron Hanover told the AP.
The price of oil also gained as a result of Greece winning its second tranche of international bailout aid since June 2010. As the emblem of damages caused by the sovereign debt crisis, Greece was forced to implement deep austerity measures as a condition of approval for the bailout. Analysts project demand to pick up since the sovereign debt crisis attacks banks, markets and public finance systems while harming national and global economic systems.
Greece's efforts to control the sovereign debt crisis signal strong tendencies for Europe to do the same with additional nations suffering under the burden of the sovereign debt scourge.
Ireland and Portugal each have accepted bailout tranches while Italy and Spain were believed to be perilously close to requesting aid as both nations work on keeping down yields on government debt.
One analysts pointed directly at the Aegean nation and skirmishes in the Middle East as drivers.
"The Greek bailout was priced into oil because it was expected that a deal would be approved," analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov with VTB Capital in London told Bloomberg. "Brent is overbought. We have some geopolitical issues in Iran and Syria but OPEC is producing at record levels and output from Libya is increasing."
Japan, India and China each plan to reduce importing at least 10 percent apiece of their crude oil supplies from Iran, according to Reuters. Those three nations, which consist of roughly 45 percent of exports of crude from Iran, indicate the difficulties caused by international sanctions.
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