Oil fell more than 1 percent on Monday as markets opened following western air strikes in Syria over the weekend, while a rise in U.S. drilling for new production also dragged on prices. The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles on Saturday, targeting what they said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7. Brent crude oil futures were at $71.78 per barrel at 0643 GMT, down 80 cents, or 1.10 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 68 cents, or 1.01 percent, at $66.71 a barrel.
Traders said markets in Asia began cautiously after the weekend strikes, with some relief that the move looked unlikely to escalate. “In the wake of the coordinated attack on Syria, oil prices are significantly lower … (but) the impact appears to be compact and over,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.