Asian markets mixed as oil prices surge

Updated 9:21 pm PDT, Sunday, September 15, 2019

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after crude prices surged following an attack on Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil processing facility.

Hong Kong’s benchmark tumbled 1.1% while Seoul advanced and Shanghai and Sydney were little-changed. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

The benchmark U.S. crude price jumped more than $5 per barrel following the attack on oil producer Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq facility, for which Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility. Brent crude, the international standard, was up $6 after spiking nearly $8 at one point.

The jump in crude prices hurt airline stocks and other businesses with big fuel bills and put upward pressure on inflation expectations. At the same time, higher prices are a boost to oil exporters such as Malaysia and temporarily pushed up share prices for crude producers.

“This is obviously not a good day if you are an oil importer,” said Christ Weston of Pepperstone Group in a report.

“This isn’t just a question of who or even what actually caused the attacks, but some have questioned whether we will we see further attacks and Saudi infrastructure is vulnerable,” said Weston.

The Hang Seng index declined to 27,040.47 points following more weekend anti-government protests. The Hong Kong airport reported passenger traffic fell 12% in August from a year ago, a sign demonstrations that began three months ago are starting to have an economic impact.

“Oil ructions aside, investors would have already been nervous today in Asia as a belligerent China returns from holiday,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,030.82 as trading resumed following a three-day holiday weekend. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up 2 points at 6,670.01.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.5% to 2,060.06

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