WTI crude oil continues to press 100 level as supported by supply worries. Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Alao said over the weekend Syria has reduced oil production by 30-35% on "dark sanctions that no other country has been through before". Alao noted they're facing difficulties in exports. The country's production capacity was at abound 380k bpd while refining capacity was at around 250k bpd. EU has stepped up it's sanctions against the country's oil industry while Arab League also imposed sanctions on financial and other dealings with Syria.
Meanwhile, Iran began the 10 days of naval exercises in Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. The situation and tension between Iran and the west raised concern about closure of the world's largest shipping route for crude oil. Iranian navy command commented on TV that that the Velayat-e 90 naval manoeuvres will be held in a 2000 square km span of sea. Iran denied rumors it's planning to seal off the strait. However, it also said the passage would be threatened if the surge in nuclear tension escalated into war.
The holder of Africa's largest oil reserves, Libya, said that it's producing over 1m barrels a day. The country is expected to resume normal oil production by mid 2012. Before the armed uprising against former leader Qaddafi, Libya was producing around 1.6m barrels a day. Oil Minister Abdul- Rahman Ben Yezza said earlier this month that the country will raise the production target to 2m barrels a day in three-to-five years. And Ben Yezza said there's a gentleman's agreement with OPEC to accommodating the return of Libyan oil, even though OPEC set a new production ceiling of 30m barrels a day earlier.
On the economic data front, Japan corporate service price index dropped -0.2% yoy in November. Housing starts dropped -0.3% yoy in November. Swiss UBS consumption indicator, US S&P Case-shiller 20 cities house price and consumer confidence will be featured later today.
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