Oil prices slid on Monday amid relief that US-led strikes on Syria did not provoke an escalation in the conflict, easing investor fears about the security of crude oil supply.
Russia holding back on any military riposte helped lift Wall Street, as did strong retail sales and optimism over earnings, but European equities were under pressure as the region’s key currencies strengthened against the dollar, AFP reports.
“The limited and targeted strikes in Syria that provoked no serious response from Russia were a relief to markets that were pricing in escalation,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at LCG.
The United States, Britain and France carried out attacks at the weekend on alleged chemical weapons facilities, in response to what they say was a toxic gas attack by the Russia-backed Syrian regime a week before.
“We can understand why the oil price has tended to fall rather than gain today in response to the West’s military strike against Syria,” Commerzbank commodities analysts said in a note.
“After all, the tough response announced by Russia has failed to materialize,” they said.
Crude prices last week had run up to highs not seen since the end of 2014 as tensions rose ahead of the attack in the tinderbox oil-rich Middle East region.