Brent oil price hits two-year high after Saudi corruption purge

 
Jasper Jolly
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Mohammed bin Salman has tightened his grip on power (Source: Getty)

The price of Brent crude surged to its highest point since mid-2015 today after the Saudi Arabian crown prince purged the ranks of the country’s elite.

The price of North Sea benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose by well over three per cent to hit $64.44 per barrel. Meanwhile West Texas Intermediate (WTI) hit highs of $57.61, around a dollar below its highest point this year.

The purges confirm the power of Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince known as MbS who has amassed power as head of the military and heir to the throne.

Read more: Billionaire Saudi prince with Twitter and Apple investments detained

The crown prince has previously backed a production freeze for the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), the cartel of major oil-producing nations outside of Russia and the US.

The Saudi government announced at the weekend that its so-called anti-corruption drive will lead to a more stable investment regime. However, the turmoil at the top of the Saudi establishment has also led to fears of power struggles which could impact oil output from the key producer.

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, said: “Brent could be acting as a safe haven in the midst of the confusion around the anti-corruption drive and Prime Mohammad bin Salman’s shifting economic agenda.”

The jump in oil prices boosted the share prices of London-listed oil supermajors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which both gained almost one per cent.

Read more: "Strong case" for LSE to win Saudi Aramco float says 10 Downing Street

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