With the launch of electronic trading, WTI crude has jumped from the highest close since July 2015 amid Saudi turmoil which over the weekend included a crackdown on 11 Saudi princes – including billionaire Alwaleed – and dozens of current and former ministers as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, i.e. MbS, who’s backed policy of capping oil output to raise prices, consolidates power with anti-graft probe, and shortly after a helicopter that carried 8 high-ranking Saudi officials inexplicably crashed near the Yemen border.
Adding to the upside pressure are concerns about Venezuela’s viability, following Friday’s default-cum-restructuring confusion, which sent PDVSA bonds crashing on the realization that the long-deferred sovereign default may finally be inevitable.
As shown in the chart below, December WTI briefly touched $56, and was up +0.5% to $55.87/bbl shortly after 6pm ET, the highest price since July 6, 2015…
… while January Brent was also higher by 0.5% to $62.39/bbl.