April 20, 2024
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Oil Prices Rise amid Escalating Geopolitical Tensions

Oil prices experienced an uptick in Asian trading on Monday, driven by concerns over tightening global supply stemming from escalating conflicts in the Middle East and between Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, a decrease in the U.S. rig count contributed to upward price pressure.

According to Reuters, Brent crude futures climbed 39 cents, or 0.5%, to $85.82 a barrel at 0759 GMT. U.S. crude futures gained 40 cents, or 0.5%, to $81.03 per barrel.

While both benchmarks saw marginal declines of less than 1% last week, a stronger U.S. dollar, which rose approximately 1% over the same period, has tempered price increases.

“Escalating geopolitical tension, coupled with a rise in attacks on energy facilities in Russia and Ukraine, alongside receding ceasefire hopes in the Middle East, raised concern over global oil supply,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, president of NS Trading, a unit of Nissan Securities.

Meanwhile, U.S. oil rig count fell by one to 509 last week, signaling potential future supply reductions, according to data from Baker Hughes.

Moscow’s recent missile and drone attack on Ukraine, targeting the capital Kyiv and intensifying conflict in the region, contributed to supply disruptions. Ukraine retaliated with attacks on Russian oil infrastructure, exacerbating tensions.

“Disruptions to oil refineries in Russia have added pressure on fuel markets, leading to rising demand for available crude oil cargoes,” analysts at ANZ Research said, adding that about 12% of Russia’s total oil processing capacity was impacted.

In the Middle East, clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants intensified, with Israeli forces besieging Gaza hospitals, exacerbating regional instability and influencing oil markets.

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