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Oil Prices Retreat After Syria Strike

April 16, 2018 at 18:02 by Matt Jackson

Oil prices have retreated slightly after the weekend’s air strikes against Syria. Geopolitical concerns had weighed heavily on the market, causing oil prices to reach three-year highs by the end of last week.

However, tensions came to a head over the weekend, at least for the time being, as the USA, France, and the UK performed a combined attack on three strategic points in the country.

Although Syria and Russia have said that there will be reprisals, the market has clearly cooled on the threat of potential war, because oil prices have slipped slightly on Monday trading. Brent crude has slipped 1.2% down below the $72 mark to $71.71 per barrel. WTI crude oil prices were $66.51 per barrel, at 18:30 GMT, which represents a fall of 1.2%.

Syria’s regime was accused of launching a chemical weapon attack on the rebel-controlled town of Douma on Saturday April 7. The attack saw 42 people killed and hundreds more injured. The day after the attack, the rebels agreed to meet with the government and discuss the handover of Douma.

Russia, who are military allies to Syria, and Putin, the country’s president, immediately claimed that the attack had been staged, later alleging that it was the UK that had faked the attack. However, the USA and UN both claimed that it was an attack by President Bashar al-Assad and his government, leading to the weekend’s air strikes.

As tensions built in the following week, oil climbed to new levels, finally surpassing the $72 mark and reaching its highest levels since 2014. If tensions rise once again, prices are likely to increase in line, so all eyes will be on Russia and Syria, as well as Iran, who have condemned the retaliatory attacks.

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