Monday, March 4, 2024

By Reuters Oil prices rose amid rising tensions in the Middle East


© Reuters. An oil pump crane in an oil field in Canada. Image from Reuters archive.

BEIJING (Reuters) – Oil rose in Asian trade as markets weighed rising tensions in the Middle East against a sudden rise in U.S. crude inventories that had pushed oil prices down about 80 cents in the previous session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.28 percent, at 71.57 a barrel by 0202 GMT. Crude futures were also up 21 cents, or 0.27 percent, at $77.01 a barrel.

U.S. crude inventories rose 1.3 million barrels to 432.4 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 5, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, compared with analysts' expectations of a 700,000-barrel decline.

Factors pushing to the downside, including rising inventories and increased production, were offset by factors such as rising tensions in the Middle East, IG Group analysts wrote in a note. They said they expect prices to range from $67 to $77 soon.

On Wednesday, Yemen's Houthis launched their biggest-ever attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The United States and Britain have said they will take further action if the attacks continue. The United Nations Security Council issued a resolution calling for an immediate end to the strikes.

The intensity of Israeli attacks in southern and central Gaza also increased on Wednesday.

China's customs administration is scheduled to release trade data for December on Friday, which will provide a picture of the world's biggest oil buyer's overall demand for the full year.

(Prepared by Marwa Gharib for Arabic Bulletin)

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Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
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