As news continually breaks on developments on the Syrian conflict and the potential implications of US or other world power intervention in the region, stocks are dropping and commodities are going through the roof.
US Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that there was “undeniable” evidence that the recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria were perpetrated by the Assad regime. The announcement in tandem with the presence of UN Weapons inspectors being fired upon in the country prompted speculation that the US may intervene with military action. Additionally, the
recent attacks cross the “red line” declaration issued by the Obama administration several months ago regarding chemical weapons.
The threat of US intervention has prompted Global Markets to react heavily to the news. In the US, the Dow fell Tuesday by over 170 to hit a two month low of 14,776.13 and the Nasdaq fell 78.13 points to 3579.44. Stocks took a hit while commodities shot up, notably gold in both the US & Canada. Brent Crude hit a six month high on Tuesday in the wake of the rumors of
military action, and US Crude rose over 3 dollars as well. Oil Prices have risen 15% over the past 3 months on concern over violent civil war in Egypt, and now conflict in Syria is pushing them even higher.
The issue with Syria is complex – Syria itself is not a major exporter. The issue is essentially concern that US intervention in Syria will spark regional unrest as well as create increased tensions with other major world powers, specifically Russia and China. Consensus seems to be that the major issue with intervention in the conflict could interrupt export and production schedules, particularly those in Iraq and Libya, according to cbc.ca.
It’s estimated that about 1% of global oil supply runs through the bay of Iskenderun in Turkey, only a few miles off the Syrian border, and tensions in Syria could threaten this export route, according to Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Reuters on Tuesday. Disruption of this supply
route would have a deep impact on European and Asian markets, particularly if tension spreads throughout the Middle East, which produces over 1/3 of Global Oil supply.