Oil prices jump after Iran military leader killed in US strike

Posted at 8:35 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 22:35:14-05

(CNN) — Oil prices pulled higher Friday morning after a top Iranian general was killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s airport ordered by President Donald Trump.

Futures for Brent crude, a global benchmark, jumped 3.3% to $68.44 per barrel during Asian trading hours on Friday, putting it on pace for its largest daily gain in nearly a month. US oil futures gained 2.6%, reaching $62.79 per barrel, also its largest gain in about a month.

The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that the US military killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, in the attack at Baghdad International Airport. It said the strike was aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans.”

Crude prices surged as news of Soleimani’s death broke. The incident threatens to further heighten tensions in the region and affect global oil output.

Meanwhile, major Asian stock indexes all reversed earlier gains and traded lower following the news.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index briefly advanced 1.1%, but was last down 0.3%. The index jumped 1.3% on Thursday.

China’s Shanghai Composite also inched down 0.1% after hitting an eight-month high on Thursday.

South Korea’s Kospi moved slightly lower.

Japanese markets were still closed for the New Year’s holidays and will resume trading on Monday.

HSBC dropped 0.4% in Hong Kong. The bank become the latest victim in the political fallout of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. Protesters attacked some branches of HSBC earlier this week.

HSBC said Thursday in a statement that it was working to restore ATM services and other banking services that had been suspended as a result of the attacks.

Originally Published: 02 JAN 20 22:29 ET

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