Israel's 40-Year Old Yom Kippur War Tweet Jolts Oil Markets

Crude Prices Jump $1 in Seconds After Israel Mentions Bombings


By Reuters

Published October 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Oil traders razor-focused on signs of escalating violence in the Middle East were jolted on Thursday by a Twitter posting from the Israeli military that, at first glance, suggested they had just bombed Syrian airports.

Oil prices jumped $1 as the talk raced through oil markets, which frequently react quickly to rumors of geopolitical events and where traders have increasingly turned to the Internet and social media for advance warning of escalating risks, from the Arab Spring to the Iranian nuclear standoff.

The Tweet was true, but it wasn’t news. The posting referred to an attack 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur war, the latest in a series of Tweets from the Israel Defense Forces Twitter handle (@IDFSpokesperson) commemorating the war.

The Tweet just before 10:30 a.m. EDT stated: “Oct. 10 #YomKippur73: Israel Air Force bombards airports in Syria to prevent Soviet weapons reaching the Syrian Army”. It then links to a website that gives a day-by-day account of the war.

“Obviously this was part of our Yom Kippur Twitter series. The facts are there and simple to read. It was apparent within the Tweet itself,” said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner.

Although traders quickly realized the historical nature of the Tweet, oil prices maintained their gains, supported in large part by hopes of a breakthrough in U.S. debt discussions and earlier anxiety over political stability in Libya.

Front-month Brent crude prices rallied from $110.40 a barrel at 10:20 a.m. EDT – just before the Tweet – to as high as $111.50 just after 11 a.m., as trading volumes rose. By 1 p.m. oil was up $2.68 a barrel to $111.74, its highest in a month.

The incident is the latest example of how social media outlets are playing an increasingly important role in financial markets, often causing sudden moves - not always corrected.

In April, hackers took control of the Associated Press Twitter account and falsely posted that two explosions at the White House injured President Barack Obama. Reuters data showed the Tweet briefly wiped out $136.5 billion (89.5 billion pounds) of the S&P 500 index’s value before markets recovered.

“The IDF tweet caused a bit of a stir in the oil market, with rumours circulating of a possible Israeli strike in Syria before people realised they were referring to events 40 years ago,” said Richard Mallinson, chief policy analyst at consultancy Energy Aspects.

Oil prices surged in October 1973 after a coalition of Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, threatening to overwhelm the country. Israel launched a massive counter-offensive before a ceasefire took hold.

The war prompted Arab nations and members of OPEC to use what they called “the oil weapon,” proclaiming an oil embargo that lasted several months and set off global oil price shocks.

More recently, the conflict in Syria, and its potential to spill over into large oil-producing nations in the region, have kept crude traders on closely watching for fresh news.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.