Oil prices experienced a sharp 3% surge, reaching a one-week high on Friday, fueled by concerns that the ongoing tensions between Israel and Gaza might escalate into a broader conflict, disrupting global crude supplies.
Brent futures rose by $2.55, marking a 2.9% increase, settling at $90.48 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude climbed $2.33, a 2.8% rise, to settle at $85.54 per barrel, according to Reuters.
The mounting tensions in the region prompted market fluctuations. Early in the session, oil prices spiked by over $2 per barrel following a U.S. military strike on Iranian targets in Syria. Subsequently, prices briefly dipped into negative territory as reports on mediation talks between Hamas and Israel, led by Qatar in coordination with the U.S., surfaced.
Analysts observed the volatile market behavior, emphasizing the influence of unpredictable geopolitical developments on oil prices. Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group, stated, “We are at the mercy of the next headline…No one wants to be short over the weekend.”
Israeli forces intensified operations in the Gaza Strip, responding to a deadly Hamas incursion into southern Israel three weeks ago. Simultaneously, a Hamas official conditioned the release of hostages in Gaza on a ceasefire, further heightening tensions. Several countries, including various Arab states, have urged Israel to reconsider a planned ground invasion to mitigate civilian casualties and prevent a potential broader conflict.
The fluctuating oil market underscores the global concern regarding the escalation of the Israel-Gaza conflict, with fears mounting over potential disruptions to crude supplies. The situation remains fluid as international efforts continue to mediate and de-escalate the crisis.