Oil rose in Asian trade Tuesday on concerns over possible US military action against Syria after Washington warned President Bashar al-Assad’s regime it would face action over an alleged chemical weapons attack.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October, was up 57 cents to $106.49 in mid-morning trade, and Brent North Sea crude for October added 45 cents to $111.18.
Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets Singapore, said investors were anticipating possible moves against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, which Damascus has denied.
“Over the last couple of days we have seen footage (of the alleged chemical attack) and it’s really heinous,” she told AFP. “It depends on whether the world will get together and stop this. Investors are digesting that.”
The United States on Monday issued a stark warning to Syria.
“Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a televised statement.
Kerry said Washington would provide more evidence of who was behind the attack, and that US President Barack Obama was determined those guilty would face consequences.
“If the likelihood of a US military response increases, this would raise tensions in the Middle East and adversely affect the stability of the world’s key oil-producing region, thus driving up prices,” Phillip Futures said in a note.