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Uncertainty over Saudi king's death pushes up oil prices briefly

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Uncertainty over Saudi king's death pushes up oil prices briefly

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Crude prices rose on Friday after the death of Saudi Arabia’s king added to the uncertainty in global oil markets.

But the effect was not great and didn’t last as the new ruler of the world’s top oil exporter indicated immediately there would be no policy change with the oil minister Ali al-Naimi remaining in place.

Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist with ABN Amro, said the initial rally after King Abdullah’s death was due to uncertainty over succession and Saudi oil policy.

“There was only a spike in prices over these tensions and they eased afterwards,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is a prime mover in the decision by the OPEC cartel to not cut production as it tries to hold on to market share by creating problems for US shale oil companies.

The resultant supply glut has pushed prices below $50 a barrel.