Wall Street Journal:

Oil prices climbed Monday, as reports of attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz helped to halve losses seen so far in May.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 1.8% at $71.89 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were up 1.5% at $62.56 a barrel.

After a quiet start to the week, oil prices sharply rose after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said an attack on two Saudi tankers over the weekend caused “significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.” He referred to the incident as sabotage.

The Strait of Hormuz is a thoroughfare between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman for roughly a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and oil, and a strategically vital passage for Persian Gulf oil producers.

“With a threat to the free circulation of oil in one of the world’s most critical areas, it’s no surprise oil is moving,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas.

Brent Crude July 2019Source: SIXAs of May 13, 8 a.m. ET

The alleged attack came against a backdrop of tightening supply for the global oil market at large, with oil futures prices continuing to move above the spot price.

News of the attack “has a very simple outright bullish impact,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodity analyst at SEB Markets. “You’re already in a tight spot and if you add in some sabotage,” that alone might be enough to explain the move.”

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