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Oil Rises on Positive Sales, Syrian Sanctions

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted November 28, 2011

Retail sales over the Thanksgiving weekend hit a record high in the United States, an indication of a healing economy and a big booster for oil prices.

And sanctions in Syria, an action that cut off a large amount of oil production temporarily, pushed prices even higher.

Syria upset the Arab League when officials would not loosen up its “crackdown on protestors,” Bloomberg reports.

Until the nation agrees to do so, the Arab League has placed a travel ban on officials from Syria as well as a freeze on the nation’s assets, the article says.

This action has affected Syria’s oil output, as earlier this year the nation averaged 332,000 barrels a day of crude.

Meanwhile, in the United States and on the World Wide Web, retail sales skyrocketed this Thanksgiving season.

As Bloomberg reports, Internet sales were up 18% on Thanksgiving and 26% on Black Friday.

This isn’t a firm indicator of what the rest of the holiday season will look like. As Gene McGillian of Tradition Energy told Bloomberg:

“We’ll have to see if sales continue strong or drop off to get a better idea if this rally will be sustained for the longer haul.”

But this change in sales has caused oil prices to jump on Monday.

Crude for January delivery was up to $99.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in morning trading, Bloomberg says, a 2.7% rise.  It had even surpassed $100 in pre-market trading.

Brent crude on the London-based ICE Futures for January also rose 2.7% to $109.32 per barrel.

Christopher Bellew of Bache Jefferies Ltd. disagreed with McGillian, remaining optimistic that sales will keep oil prices afloat. As he told Bloomberg:

“We’re likely to see Brent back up to $115 by year-end.  Prices will be supported by colder weather, declining inventories and a positive start to the U.S. shopping season.”

If these factors can keep oil prices up on positive economic trends, perhaps the unrest in the Middle East won’t affect the markets so much.

That’s all for now,


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