Mark Wilson/Getty Images
- In an interview that aired Sunday night, President Donald Trump threatened Saudi Arabia with "severe punishment" if it was found to have been involved in the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil were up about 1% on Monday as traders priced in the possibility that sanctions could remove more barrels from an already tight market.
- Watch Brent and WTI trade in real time here.
Oil prices firmed Monday morning as questions surrounding the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had traders pricing in the possibility sanctions would be imposed against Saudi Arabia.
Both Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, were up just less than 1%, at $81.21 and $71.87 a barrel, holding just below almost four-year highs reached October 3.
Turkish officials suspect that Khashoggi, who hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week, was murdered by Saudi agents. Saudi Arabia has denied responsibility for the disappearance.
During an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night, President Donald Trump threatened "severe punishment" against Saudi Arabia if it was found to have been involved in the journalist's disappearance.
Saudi Arabia responded by vowing retaliation against any US sanctions. "The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy and that the Kingdom's economy is affected only by the impact of the global economy," the country's press agency said, citing an "official source."
The back-and-forth between two of the world's largest oil producers has ratcheted up concerns that sanctions could remove barrels from a market that has already been tight because of US sanctions against Iran.
"The countries that can increase are very small in number," Helima Croft, the head of commodities research at RBC, told Business Insider, adding that there were questions about how long Russia could keep raising output. "It's really only Saudi Arabia at this point."