U.S. forces launched an airstrike Thursday that killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani, and experts are mixed as to how this event will play out and affect the oil market.
A Different Oil Market Than 5 Years Ago
If Thursday’s targeted strike against Soleimani took place five years ago, the price of oil would be north of $100 a barrel, Helima Croft, managing director and global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said Friday on CNBC.
Given the surge in U.S. oil production over the past few years, the impact on the attack on the oil market is minimal.
Iran has built a reputation in recent months of showing signs of aggression and made it clear it has the capacity to be disruptive, she said.
Moving forward, nothing is off the table in terms of how Iran could respond, and the the conflict could potentially escalate to U.S. forces attacking targets inside Iran, Croft said.
“I think Soleimani was too important to the Iranian leadership for them to just let this pass.”
Cramer Urges Caution With Oil
Investors should be cautious in buying oil for two reasons, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said on “Squawk Box.”
First, oil futures for delivery from 2023 through 2025 are mostly unchanged, which is “what I care about,” the CNBC host said.
Even after a terrorist attack on a Saudi Arabia oil facility cut its capacity by half, oil merely had a “two days up move and that was it,” he said.
Investors buying oil today may be forced to “sell it tomorrow,” Cramer said.
The impact on stocks is just as minimal, as the markets have given back just a few short days’ worth of gains, he said.
Bremmer Says Iran Crossed Red Line
President Donald Trump has shown a willingness to avoid escalating tensions with Iran over the past few months, but he couldn’t sit by idly after Iran crossed a “red line,” Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, said on “Squawk Box.”
Specifically, Soleimani directly orchestrated attacks against U.S. assets, including its embassy in Iraq, Bremmer said.
Iran was also given the message that any response from the U.S. would be “significant,” he said.
Nevertheless, the world is “better off” today without Soleimani, Bremmer said.
The Iranian general was tasked with building a proxy and terrorist network across the Middle East, the Eurasia Group president said, adding that it has been “amply documented” his actions led to the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq over the years.
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