Oil Prices Tumble as Trump Pulls Ahead in Close U.S. Election

Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton watch election returns in Ohio at the election night rally in New York, U.S., November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 – Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday as vote counting showed Republican Donald Trump edging ahead in an unexpectedly tight U.S. presidential election, setting world markets on edge.

Crude futures markets roared into action as Trump surprised by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in a series of key contests and opening a path to the White House.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell to a session low of $43.07 per barrel, down more than 4 percent from their last close and their lowest since September, before inching back to $43.26 a barrel at 0455 GMT.

International Brent crude futures were down 3.3 percent at $44.51 a barrel.

“This is dejavu of the Brexit moment, very worrying,” said Bob Takai, president at Sumitomo Corp Global Research in Tokyo, referring to Britain’s surprise vote to leave the European Union in a referendum last June, which led to market turmoil.

The falls in oil came as prices for gold, a traditional safehaven for investors in times of high economic risk jumped, while the dollar fell sharply against a basket of other leading currencies.

“Investors moved into complete ‘risk off’ mode… Trump winning would have negative consequences on the price of oil,” said Jameel Ahmad, vice president of market research at trading platform and research firm FXTM.

“The threat of growth forecasts being downgraded at least over the short-term due to investor uncertainty in theory weakens demand for commodities like oil.”

Trump won the key battleground state of Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and likely Georgia, and led Clinton in a series of other states that were too close to call.

Elsewhere, a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed crude inventory figures rising by 4.4 million barrel was also weighing on markets.

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