Oil Markets Unfazed by Iranian Strikes on U.S. Targets

World oil prices dipped Wednesday in afternoon European trading, after briefly spiking when Iran launched missile attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq.

The strikes, launched in retaliation for the assassination of Iran's top general last Friday, sent Brent and New York crude to multi-month peaks before profit-taking and experience prevailed.

Iran said it had "concluded" its missile attacks for now, and analysts pointed out that oil traders had many sources at their disposal in any event.

"Sooner or later investors will realize that the plentiful non-OPEC supply will more than make up for any short-term disruptions in the Middle East," noted market analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

SEB analyst Bjarne Schieldrop added that "not a single drop of oil supply has been lost due to the recent incidents and this is why the oil price has fallen back down again so quickly. What the market fears is that the situation spirals out of control." 

Global stock markets initially slid on investor concern of a broader conflict, though many were in positive territory in afternoon trades.

London stocks were the outlier, down by almost 0.2 percent, while Frankfurt gained 0.5 percent and Paris was slightly higher as well.

Fears of escalation proved "to be short-lived as the U.S. administration avoided an impulsive military response in the aftermath" of the Iranian strikes, explained analyst Bethel Loh at trading firm ThinkMarkets.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the country does "not seek escalation or war". analyst Neil Wilson remarked that "at present you sense traders are sitting on their hands a bit while they wait for the US president to respond officially to the Iranian attacks."  

Safe haven assets fared well initially, but after surging above $1,600 an ounce for the first time in six years, gold fell back to $1,573.60 which represented a slight loss on the day.

- Key figures at 1500 GMT -

Brent Crude: DOWN 0.6 percent at $67.89 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.0 percent at $62.09

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,561.59 points 

Paris - CAC 40: UP less than 0.1 percent at 6,016.64

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 13,293.08

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,765.00

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 23.204,76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 3,066.89 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 28,087.92 (close)

New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 28,609.49

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3128 from $1.3126 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.76 pence from 84.97 pence 

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1126 from $1.1153 

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.70 from 108.44 yen

Source: Agence France Presse

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