Oil prices jump as Hamas attacks trigger supply concerns
Crude oil prices rose in early Asian trading on Monday amid concerns that Hamas’s attack on Israel will increase tensions across the Middle East and affect output from leading producers.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped by 3.8 per cent to $87.81 per barrel on Monday morning, a day after Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned of a “long and difficult war”.
Israel is not an oil producer, but there are concerns the conflict could trigger wider uncertainty in the Middle East and lead to tougher sanctions on oil from Iran, whose foreign ministry backed Hamas’s actions as an act of self-defence.
White house confirms death of ‘several’ US citizens in Hamas attacks
Several Americans are among those killed in Hamas’s attacks in Israel, the White House said on Sunday evening.
“We can confirm the deaths of several US citizens,” a US National Security Council spokesperson said. “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected, and wish those injured a speedy recovery.”
American officials remain in close touch with Israeli officials and local authorities, the spokesperson said.
At least 700 Israelis are believed to have been killed in Hamas’s multi-prong attacks. Officials also believe there are US citizens among at least 100 people believed to be held hostage in Gaza.
What to watch in Asia today
China: The country returns to work and financial markets reopen after the Golden Week holiday. Hong Kong’s stock exchange is closed as Typhoon Koinu dumps heavy rain on the territory.
Markets: Investors will look towards oil markets for signs that Hamas’s attack on Israel has heightened supply concerns.
Holidays: Financial markets in Seoul are closed for Hangul Day, which commemorates the Korean alphabet, while traders in Japan take a break for Sports Day.
Israel death toll from Hamas attack tops 700
The death toll from Hamas’s unprecedented multi-front assault on Israel passed 700 on Sunday, as the country’s military hunted Palestinian militants holding out in the south of the country.
By Sunday afternoon, Israel had regained control of most of the locations infiltrated by Hamas militants, who stormed into the country from Gaza by land, air and sea before inflicting the highest number of casualties in a single attack within Israel’s borders since the state was founded in 1948.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state still faced a “long and difficult” conflict with Hamas, as his security cabinet formally declared war.
Read more about Hamas’s attack here.
Metro Bank agrees financing package with investors
Metro Bank has struck a financing deal with investors after a weekend of negotiations that should give the UK challenger bank some breathing space and fill a capital hole that had prompted talks with regulators.
The package agreed with investors and announced on Sunday night includes a £325mn capital raise, split between £150mn of fresh equity from Metro’s largest shareholders and £175mn of new debt from bondholders.
Metro’s biggest shareholder — Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal — is due to contribute £102mn of the new equity. Bacal’s investment vehicle Spaldy is set to become the bank’s majority shareholder.
Read more about Metro Bank here.
German voters give government parties a drubbing in state elections
Voters in two German states used a pair of regional elections on Sunday to chastise the three parties in chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition, as projections showed an upsurge in support for the radical right.
The centre-right opposition won both elections — in the central state of Hesse and Bavaria in the south, but the day’s other big winner was the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Its support has surged in recent weeks on a wave of anger over rising refugee numbers.
Projections from Germany’s public broadcasters put the AfD on 15.5 per cent in Bavaria and on 16.9 per cent in Hesse — their best result in a west German state.
Read more about German regional elections here.