Global Political Drivers: Gulf tanker war and oil shock

  • The incentives of the belligerents in the new Gulf stand-off ensure continued provocations; and escalation from here would take the form of a much more serious tanker war than its 1980s predecessor.
  • The effects of this situation will not be limited to fleeting oil price spikes: the threat of such a war will inject a premium into the oil curve.
  • Even were Iran to balk at escalation in response to any air strikes by the US or its allies, the pattern of deniable provocations would resume.
  • This spells an upward oil price spiral which, in the event of an all-out tanker war, would spike well above $100/bbl for a few weeks before retreating to still elevated levels, driving up inflation and yields.

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