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Geopolitical Risks Rise In Energy Markets

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

This week, we saw a fairly big scare for the oil industry in the form of an intelligence-sharing event between the Saudis and the Americans warning of a potential Iranian attack on Middle East oil facilities–most notably, Aramco’s. As we noted in last week’s briefing, the September 2019 attack by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis on Aramco facilities caused chaos in the global oil markets. If it happens again, it will cause far more chaos. Iran has called the media reports surrounding such intelligence “baseless”, while various analyses pose the theory that a big attack on Saudi Arabia would be meant as a distraction at home, where Tehran is battling rising unrest that is backing it into a corner. There were no real details revealed concerning the so-called intelligence shared between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Indeed, media reports made it seem as if the threat potential was directly from Iran, and not through a proxy such as Yemen’s Houthis. We find such a declaration of war on Saudi Arabia not to be in Iran’s interest at this moment, nor would it necessarily serve as a distraction for protesting Iranians across the country.

Another major concern for markets this week was Russia’s scratching of the deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to get to market - a deal brokered by the Turks. That deal saw 8 million tons of agro products leave Ukraine for global markets staving off a hunger…

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