The Latest: Saudi attacks put pressure on airlines, others

World
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The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf and the fallout after weekend attack by Iran-backed Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Airlines and cruise operators are coming under pressure as jittery investors send their shares lower before the opening bell due to concerns over rising oil prices.

Global energy prices are surging on Monday after a weekend attack on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia caused the worst disruption to world supplies on record.

S&P Global Platts is predicting a more than $10 increase in the price of light North Sea crude oil. While Saudi Arabia can maintain exports and use reserves in the short term, a prolonged disruption would hurt OPEC’s spare capacity and the ability of International Energy Agency to use reserves to shore up the market, the company said.

Among the airlines whose shares are down 2% or more in premarket trading are Southwest Airlines Co., American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., JetBlue Airways Co., Spirit Airlines Inc. and Alaska Air Group Inc.

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. dropped 2%, while Carnival Corp. fell 3%.

“High oil prices are clearly an unwelcome event in the current economic climate, especially if they stay at this level for a prolonged period of time,” Ivan Petrella, associate professor of economics at Warwick Business School, said in an emailed statement.

The demand for more limited oil supplies is helping to push the shares of energy companies higher. Exxon Mobil Corp.’s stock rose 4%, while Royal Dutch Shell, PetroChina Co. and Total SA all rose about 2%.

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3:20 p.m.

Japanese Trade Minister Isshu Sugawara says Japan is closely watching a possible impact on its oil supply and market movement following a weekend attack on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

Sugawara said in a statement on Monday that Japan has oil reserves for about 230 days of domestic consumption but if necessary, it can release some of the reserves and set in motion other measures, in cooperation with other countries and the International Energy Agency.

The tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for — charges that Tehran denies. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed they targeted a Saudi processing facility and an oil filed with drones.

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2 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has condemned what he called “Iran’s attack on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” in an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference in Vienna.

Perry said on Monday in Austria that “this behavior is unacceptable” and that Iran “must be held responsible.”

He added: “Make no mistake about it, this was a deliberate attack on the global economy and the global energy market.”

He said that President Donald Trump has authorized the release of strategic oil reserves should the U.S. need them, and that his “department stands ready” to proceed if necessary.

Perry also added that “despite Iran’s malign efforts we are very confident that the market is resilient and will respond.”

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1:50 p.m.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are warning of more attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and are urging foreign companies doing business in the kingdom to stay away from its energy sites.

Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for the Houthis, said on Monday that facilities such as the Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key Saudi oil field that were hit this weekend “could be targeted at any time.”

The Houthis have claimed the attack on Saturday but the U.S. has blamed Iran, releasing satellite images it alleges show the incoming fire may have come from either Iraq or Iran.

Iran has denied being involved in the attack, though it comes amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

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1:20 p.m.

Iran’s government says it will not negotiate with the United States while it’s under U.S. sanctions and urged Washington to return to the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday that lifting the sanctions is a main pre-requisite.

He says that “halting sanctions is a basic condition. We do not negotiate under sanctions, not anymore.” He said Iran did so once before, when it was negotiating the nuclear deal.

He says there has been “no new word, no new plan, no new discourse,” in the recent U.S. offer of talks.

Last year, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal between Iran and world powers and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic that sent the country’s economy into freefall.

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12:55 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister has sharply condemned a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia.

Heiko Maas also told reporters on Monday in Berlin that “the situation is exceedingly worrisome; this is really the very last thing that we currently need in this conflict.”

The tensions roiling the Persian Gulf escalated following the attack on major Saudi oil sites that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for — charges that Tehran denies. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack.

Maas said while Germany is aware the Houthis claimed responsibility, it is currently evaluating with its partners, “who is responsible for this attack, how it could happen.”

Maas stressed that it’s important to analyze the situation with “sober-mindedness.”

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12:25 a.m.

Iraq’s prime minister says U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has telephoned him amid soaring tensions in the region after a weekend attack on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received the phone call on Monday. There were no immediate details on what the two sides discussed.

U.S. officials have offered satellite images of the damage at Saudi Arabia’s crucial Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key oil field, alleging the pattern of destruction suggested the attack on Saturday came from either Iraq or Iran — rather than Yemen, as claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there.

Iraq, which is home to powerful Iran-backed militias, has categorically denied its airspace was used to launch an attack on the kingdom.

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11:30 a.m.

Iran says a meeting between the presidents of the U.S. and Iran on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month is not on the agenda.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that “this meeting will not happen” and called reports about a potential face-to-face between Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani as mere “speculation.”

However, the U.S. has said it will remain open for talks with Iran. Trump tweeted Sunday: The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)”

The tensions roiling the Persian Gulf escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for — charges that Tehran denies. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed they targeted a Saudi processing facility and an oil filed with drones.

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6:10 a.m.

Global energy prices have spiked after an attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure as President Donald Trump warned Iran that America was “locked and loaded” to respond to an assault it alleges Tehran orchestrated.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20% in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to 10% higher. A barrel of Brent traded up $6 to $66.28.

U.S. benchmark West Texas crude was up around 9%.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed the attacks Saturday. However, the U.S. released satellite images overnight Monday it alleges shows the fire came from either Iraq or Iran.

Iran has denied being involved in the attack, though it comes amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

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