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Crude oil futures rise as geopolitical tensions grow

Singapore — Crude oil futures rose during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday as tensions brewed in the Middle East following a series of incidents in the Strait of Hormuz.

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At 10:23 am Singapore time (0223 GMT), front-month ICE Brent September futures were up $1.23/b (1.99%) from Thursday's settle at $63.16/b, while the NYMEX August light sweet crude futures contract was 91 cents/b (1.65%) higher at $56.21/b.

Overnight, US President Donald Trump said the US Navy ship USS Boxer had taken defensive action against an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz following "multiple calls to stand down".

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," Trump said at the White House.

Earlier Thursday, Iran said that a foreign tanker was seized Sunday after it was discovered to have smuggled fuel.

"After receiving the smuggled fuel from some Iranian small vessels, the foreign ship, which has the capacity of carrying two million liters of fuel, was to deliver its cargo to other foreign vessels far from the Iranian island," the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said in a statement reported by MEHR news agency.

The incidents highlight increasing tensions in the world's busiest oil shipping artery, raising concerns over global energy security.

Developments in the Middle East remained a "potential upside risk for prices," ANZ analysts wrote in a note Friday.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's crude exports fell to a 19-month low of 6.94 million b/d in May, according to figures released by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative Thursday.

OPEC and non-OPEC members earlier this month agreed to extend their collective 1.2 million b/d supply cut agreement through the first quarter of 2020.

Saudi Arabia has been producing well below its quota of 10.311 million b/d under the deal - its production level in May was 9.7 million b/d, according to S&P Global Platts figures.

As of 0223 GMT, the US Dollar Index was up 0.11% at 96.460.

--Ada Taib,

--Edited by Wendy Wells,