NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The increase in worldwide oil prices following the United States air strike in Iraq is a national cause of concern, according to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Beckles.
Beckles stressed oil pricing will impact every day lives of Bahamians as he noted the price of Brent crude rose by four percent on Friday.
At one point prices peaked at nearly $70 a barrel.
The increase came after Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds, was killed at Baghdad International Airport early Friday, in an airstrike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement that the top Iranian general was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members, adding that the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Beckles said: “At the end of the day, the key thing for us to do is to pay attention to the growing tension in the middle east, which always have a negative impact on oil prices, which eventually will have an impact on us.
“As far as the timeline is concerned, it’s very difficult to place a timeline on it because in this issue in the Middle East and issue with oil prices there are a lot of variables that we have no control over.
“We do know this, the higher these tensions get and the more aggressive these parties get, obviously it spells for some cause for concern with regard to fuel prices, oil prices.”
Beckles continued: “What we have to do, literally as I said, is pay attention and plan for the inevitability of increases.
“But in the meantime, the tensions in the Middle East concern us nationally, because it effects everything we do.
“So yes we are very concerned about it and we will continue to watch and hope that the tension resides and they can come to some amicable agreement on the things that they find offensive to each other.”
Beckles noted that several areas including energy, shipping and airline costs will be impacted as a result of the oil pricing increase.
“When you start talking about oil impact, there’s nothing that we do in our life that is not affected by oil pricing, even basic manufacturing,” he added.
“…So there’s very few things in our lives that we do where some fuel is not impacted by oil.”
The cost increase in Brent crude is the highest since September, when Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities.