Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz is alive, an adviser to a senior member of the ruling family told Reuters on Thursday denying rumours about his health that had triggered buying across financial markets.

“The rumours aren’t true,” said the Saudi-based source.

Abdullah, around 87, has been resting in Morocco since January following a two-month stay in the United States where he underwent surgery twice after a blood clot complicated a slipped disc, state media have said.

There has been no official statement in response to the rumours by the Saudi government, which does not typically respond to speculation. Two Gulf-based diplomats said they were unaware of any change to the king’s health.

North Sea Brent crude oil futures for March LCOc1 jumped to a high of $102.88 per barrel their highest for a week, up $1.06 on the rumours before slipping back to around $102.20 by 1200 GMT.

The cost of insuring exposure to Saudi Arabian sovereign obligations for five years also rose 19 basis points from the previous day’s close.


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