Oil prices jump as downed U.S. drone stokes Middle East tensions

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices climbed around 3% on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the Middle East as a U.S. official said one of the country’s military drones was shot down by an Iranian missile. The drone was downed in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, a U.S. official said on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. Earlier, reports out of Iran said the nation’s Revolutionary Guards had downed a U.S. “spy” drone in the southern province of Hormozgan. Tensions have been rising in the Middle East after last week’s attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for oil supplies. Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted, with Washington blaming Tehran for the tanker attacks and Tehran denying any role. Oil prices had risen earlier in the day supported by signs of improving demand in the United States, an agreement between OPEC and other producers on a date for a meeting to discuss output cuts and signs that the U.S. and China were resuming talks to resolve a trade war that is threatening global growth. “The geopolitical side is the wild card and can’t be… continue reading

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