Oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ tracked crude prices lower after Saudi Arabia insisted that it could offset any drop in Iranian oil exports with its own supply if US sanctions upset the fragile balance of the oil market. Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih also knocked prices by adding that oil cartel Opec is in “produce as much as you can mode”.
Brent crude plunged as much as 5pc to $75.88 per barrel, its lowest level in more than six weeks, while BP and Shell shed 17.6p to 533.2p and 66p to £24.83 respectively. Smaller producers Cairn Energy and Tullow Oil fell 15.1p to 184.9p and 10.7p to 217p respectively.
British American Tobacco led a handful of stocks higher in London after Barclays called the tobacco giant “very cheap” and investors switched into more defensive stocks.
Analyst Gaurav Jain told clients that BAT has “delivered what it has always promised” and has a “clear and balanced strategy” for its e-cigarette products. BAT rose 142.5p to £35.05.
Gold miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources topped the FTSE 100 after precious metal prices surged as risk appetite on markets receded. Fresnillo rallied 81.6p to 977.2p while Randgold closed 238p higher at £65.34, an eight-month high. However, Anglo American followed the rest of the miners lower despite upgrading its platinum production guidance, sinking 41.2p to £16.22.