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Oil climbs on global stimulus speculation, Iran supply concern

  • A ship docks at the refueling station in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Oil surged on speculation that central banks from Europe to China would ease monetary policy to spur growth while sanctions against Iran curb supply. Prices gained as much as 5.1 percent as the European Central Bank is forecast to cut interest rates this week.

A state-owned newspaper in China said the time was right to increase liquidity in the banking sector. Iran fired several missiles during a three-day military exercise as the country threatened to block tanker traffic in the Strait of Hormuz.

“What you are seeing in the market right now is greater risk appetite as anticipations of further monetary easing grow,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, BNP Paribas SA’s London-based head of commodity markets strategy. “The market’s focus is returning back to Iran and the implications of the Iranian embargo in terms of the volume of oil that needs to be replaced.”

Oil for August delivery climbed $3.61, or 4.3 percent, to $87.36 a barrel at 11:31 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are 12 percent lower this year.

Brent for August settlement traded above $100 for the first time since June 11. The futures gained $3.32, or 3.4 percent, to $100.66 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

The ECB and the Bank of England will announce interest-rate decisions on July 5. ECB officials will lower their benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a record low 0.75 percent, according economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The People’s Bank of China may cut lenders’ reserve requirements to increase liquidity in the banking system, according to a commentary on the front page of Tuesday’s China Securities Journal, which is published by the official Xinhua News Agency.

“There is a better chance that Europe and China are going to have some monetary stimulus plans and that’s helping oil,” said Phil Streible, a Chicago-based commodities broker at RJO Futures. “If Iran does cut tanker traffic, oil prices will have a big advance. You are seeing some risk-on sentiment.”

An EU embargo on Iranian oil took full effect on July 1 after exemptions on some contracts and insurance ended. Iran’s crude exports may drop to about 1 million barrels a day, Goldman Sachs said in a report Monday.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 04, 2012, on page 6.
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