February 21, 2011
Is this one of those “who could have possibly seen it coming” moments? As events in Libya overnight spiralled out of control, with dozens if not hundreds killed, the parliament buildng in Tripoli on fire, and output at one of the country’s oil fields reported to have been stopped by a workers’ strike, BP has said it will soon begin evacuating some of its personnel from the 9th largest producer of oil. And just to complete the total chaos, Iran warships are now going to pass the Suez on Tuesday instead of today, to the full glory of a fully open US stock market. The result: gold over $1,400; silver over $33.50; Crude front month over $93; Brent over $105; etc. Luckily, the US stock market is closed, meaning all this will be “priced in” by tomorrow, and the HFT levitation can resume tomorrow as if today never happened…
Some of the key overnight highlights:
Dozens of people were reported killed in Tripoli overnight as anti-government protests reached the Libyan capital for the first time and the building where the country’s parliament meets was ablaze on Monday.
One of Muammar Gaddafi’s sons said the veteran leader would fight the popular revolt that has shaken his 40-year rule until “the last man standing.”
Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli’s streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition in a revolt that has cost the lives of more than 200 people.
Output at one of the country’s oil fields was reported to have been stopped by a workers’ strike and some European oil companies withdrew expatriate workers and suspended operations.
Al Jazeera television quoted medical sources as saying 61 people had been killed in the latest protests in Tripoli.
It said security forces were looting banks and other government institutions in Tripoli and protesters had broken into several police stations and trashed them.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The building where the General People’s Congress, or parliament, meets when it is in session in Tripoli was on fire on Monday morning, a Reuters reporter said.
The eastern city of Benghazi, where the protests began last week after the arrest of a human rights lawyer and where scores of people have been killed by security forces, was said by some residents to be effectively in the hands of the protesters.
Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television in an attempt both to threaten and to calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price to put down one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse the Arab world.
“We will keep fighting until the last man standing, even to the last woman standing.
Wagging a finger at the camera, he accused Libyan exiles of fomenting the violence. But he also promised dialogue on reforms and wage rises.
In an indication of disagreement inside Libya’s ruling elite, Mohamed Bayou — who until a month ago was chief government spokesman — said the leadership was wrong to threaten violence against its opponents.
Bayou called on Saif al-Islam to start talks with the opposition.
BP says it is “very likely” some of the oil company’s employees in Libya will be evacuated in the coming days as the violent unrest in the north African country spreads.
A spokesman for BP PLC said the company is drawing up plans for evacuating staff “in the next couple of days.”
Anti-government violence has spread from Libyan cities such as Benghazi to the capital, Tripoli. Protesters are clashing with police and demanding the ouster of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
BP has about 140 employees in the country, of which less than a third are expatriates, spokesman David Nicholas said.
After passing $105 briefly, Brent has since retreated to $104.30. What else can we say – disinflation.