May 8, 2021

Libyan conflict causes oil price hike

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PARIS (AP) — Confusion over the extent of the rebels’ hold on the Libyan capital and a rally in stock markets drove oil prices higher Tuesday, a day after they fell in anticipation of the end of strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

On Monday, Libyans celebrated the news that insurgents had reached Tripoli, but late in the day the appearance of Gadhafi’s son and potential successor, whom the rebels had claimed to have captured, called into doubt rebel declarations of victory.

That confusion pushed benchmark oil for October delivery up $1.34 to $85.76 in the afternoon Paris time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, Brent crude was up 29 cents to $108.65 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Despite the initial jubilation, investors have also questioned how fast Libya’s oil production could recover should the rebels take power. Fighting since February has cut the OPEC nation’s crude output to 60,000 barrels a day from about 1.5 million, and the country’s oil infrastructure has been damaged.

Capital Economics noted that with experts predicting Libya will take months, if not years, to ramp up production, traders may be putting hopes for the country on hold. They may instead be taking their cues from a rally in stock markets across Europe and Asia.

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