Oil prices ease after Suez Canal traffic resumes

Oil prices ease after Suez Canal traffic resumes
2 min read
As traffic resumed in the Suez canal after the MV Ever Given, that was blocking it since Tuesday, was freed, global oil prices eased.
Crude prices had tumbled earlier after the ship was partially freed [Getty]

World oil prices eased on Monday as traffic resumed on the Suez Canal after a massive container ship blocking the waterway was freed.

The Suez Canal Authority said the Ever Given was back afloat and traffic resuming in one of the most important routes for global trade and crude shipments that had been shut for almost a week.

Crude prices had tumbled earlier after the ship was partially freed, but rebounded quickly afterwards when salvage experts said the hardest work was ahead.

But only hours later they managed to free the ship completely, and oil prices fell back.

Traders also mulled Thursday's OPEC producers' meeting.

'Ripple effects'

Despite the resumption of traffic, analysts say that it will take time for container transport to resume to normal.

"The market will soon realise that... even if Ever Given leaves the canal within days, some leftover downstream ripple effects should be expected," warned Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson.

"Oil loadings, as well as some oil demand could be affected as manufacturers may have to close or pause production as they wait for delayed goods to arrive at plants," she added.

The Suez Canal Authority said the waterway would be open 24 hours per day and the backlog of hundreds of vessels could be cleared in around three and a half days.

Elsewhere, Asian and European stock markets were mixed on Monday as traders mulled coronavirus turmoil and set aside another record-breaking pre-weekend lead from Wall Street.

London traded flat, while Paris and Frankfurt both rose 0.3 percent despite the continent's stuttering inoculation drive and rising infections.

New York's three main indices opened lower on Monday after having finished Friday on a strong note, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending at all-time highs.

A below forecast reading on US prices on Friday eased fears that inflationary pressures could force central banks to wind back their ultra-loose monetary policies and hike interest rates.

The week ahead will provide plenty for traders to get their teeth into including the release of key US jobs data for March and figures on manufacturing activity around the world.

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