By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Oil prices surged to six-month highs on Monday while Wall Street futures turned lower and safe haven bets returned after weekend attacks on Saudi Arabia’s crude facilities knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

futures jumped 15% to the highest since May. It was last at $60.89 a barrel while was up 13% at $68.06 after earlier rising to $71.95.

Signaling a weak start for Asian share markets, E-Minis for the S&P 500 were off 0.4% while those for the eased 0.3%.

Liquidity in Asia is expected to be thin on Monday with Japan shut for a public holiday, which could exacerbate market volatility.

“Saturday’s news of multiple drone attacks on Saudi Arabia Abqaiq petroleum processing facility is set to reverberate through global markets this week,” said Ray Attrill, head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank.

In addition to massive supply disruptions, the attacks also heightened investor worries about the geopolitical situation in the region and worsening relations between Iran and the United States. Those concerns powered safe-haven assets with prices for gold climbing 1% in early Asian trade to $1,503.09.

The Yemeni Houthi group had claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit the world’s biggest oil-processing facility but a senior U.S. official told reporters on Sunday that evidence indicated Iran was behind it.

U.S. President Donald Trump said late on Sunday the United States was “locked and loaded” for a potential response to the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

In currencies, the Saudi news pushed the yen up 0.2% to 107.8 per dollar while the Canadian dollar rose 0.5% in anticipation of higher oil prices.

The euro was little moved near a three-week top while the pound hovered near Friday’s two-month highs. That left the greenback down 0.15% at 98.105 against a basket of six major currencies.

“One immediate question this poses for bond markets is whether a further rise in the inflation expectations component of bond yields – which have proved historically sensitive to oil prices – will give this month’s sharp bond market sell-off fresh impetus,” Attrill added.

“Or will safe haven considerations dominate to drive yields lower?  Watch this space.”

In early Asian trading, futures for U.S. rose 0.2%, indicating yields may slip when cash trading begins.

Global bonds were sold off last week, sending yields higher, led by a broader risk rally on hopes the United States and China would soon end their long trade war. Better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data also boosted sentiment.

Chinese data for industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment will be released later on Monday, which could help set the tone for this week’s trade.

Investors also await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday at which it is widely expected to ease interest rates and signal its future policy path.

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2019-09-15