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March 29, 2021

Suez Canal traffic resumption after 'Ever Given' blockage eases oil prices

Mon, Mar 29, 2021
A man waves at the Panama-flagged MV 'Ever Given' container ship as it is tugged in Suez Canal after it was fully dislodged from the banks near Suez, Egypt, March 29, 2021. AFP/Ahmad Hassan

LONDON: As traffic in Egypt's Suez Canal resumed when 'Ever Given,' a massive container ship, was refloated Monday after a week of global trade blockage, oil prices around the world eased.

The Suez Canal Authority said the Ever Given was back afloat and traffic resuming in one of the most important routes for global trade and crude shipments that had been shut for almost a week.

Crude prices had tumbled earlier after the ship was partially freed but rebounded quickly afterwards when salvage experts said the hardest work was ahead.

But only hours later they managed to free the ship completely and oil prices fell back.

Traders also mulled a Thursday meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) producers.

'Ripple effects'

Despite the resumption of traffic, analysts say that it would take time for container transport to resume to normal.

"The market will soon realise that... even if Ever Given leaves the canal within days, some leftover downstream ripple effects should be expected," warned Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson.

"Oil loadings, as well as some oil demand could be affected as manufacturers may have to close or pause production as they wait for delayed goods to arrive at plants."

The Suez Canal Authority said the waterway would be open 24 hours per day and the backlog of hundreds of vessels could be cleared in around three and a half days.

Elsewhere, Asian and European stock markets were mixed on Monday as traders mulled coronavirus turmoil and set aside another record-breaking pre-weekend lead from Wall Street.

London traded flat, while Paris and Frankfurt both rose 0.3% despite the continent's stuttering inoculation drive and rising infections.

New York's three main indices opened lower on Monday after having finished Friday on a strong note, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending at all-time highs.

A below forecast reading on US prices on Friday eased fears that inflationary pressures could force central banks to wind back their ultra-loose monetary policies and hike interest rates.

The week ahead will provide plenty for traders to get their teeth into including the release of key US jobs data for March and figures on manufacturing activity around the world.

Key figures around 7:30pm (PKT)


  • West Texas Intermediate: Down 0.9% at $60.40 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: Down 0.8% at $64.04 per barrel



  • FTSE 100: Down 0.5% at 6,709.61 points


  • DAX 30: Up 0.3% at 14,793.23


  • CAC 40: Up 0.3% at 6,009.28


  • STOXX 50: Up 0.3% at 3,878.33

New York

  • Dow: Down 0.3% at 32,971.76


  • Nikkei 225: Up 0.7% at 29,384.52 (close)

Hong Kong

  • Hang Seng: Flat at 28,338.30 (close)


  • Composite: Up 0.5% at 3,435.30 (close)



  • Down at $1.1787 from $1.1794 at 2200 GMT


  • Up at $1.3828 from $1.3789


  • Down at 85.24 pence from 85.53 pence


  • Up at 109.67 yen from 109.64 yen