Oil Prices Ascend, Despite Looming Weekly Loss as Middle East Tensions Ease

by Jennifer

In the realm of Asian trading, oil prices have surged on Friday, albeit still grappling with significant losses for the week. This decline in value is attributed to traders factoring in a reduced risk premium stemming from the Israel-Hamas conflict. Moreover, the upsurge in Treasury yields and less-than-stellar economic data have further compounded concerns regarding oil demand.

The observed signals of a potential de-escalation in the ongoing conflict have prompted traders to dial down their expectations of it escalating further and drawing in other Middle Eastern nations, potentially disrupting oil supplies in the region known for its abundant crude resources.


Efforts are underway through various diplomatic missions to avert a planned ground incursion into Gaza and negotiate the release of approximately 200 hostages held by Hamas. Despite these diplomatic endeavors, Israeli forces conducted an overnight raid in northern Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to a substantial ground assault in the region.


Nonetheless, the extent to which the conflict will impact oil supplies remains a matter of uncertainty. This is due to the fact that crude oil shipments from the Middle East have witnessed minimal fluctuations during the initial 20 days of the conflict.

As of 20:49 ET (00:49 GMT), Brent oil futures have experienced a 0.5% increase, reaching $88.42 per barrel. Simultaneously, West Texas Intermediate crude futures have risen by 0.6% to attain a value of $83.68 per barrel. These gains come in the wake of a significant drop of approximately $2 per barrel on the preceding day. Nevertheless, both contracts are on track to register a substantial weekly loss ranging between 4% to 5%, marking their first weekly decline in three weeks.

Fed Uncertainty and Mixed Economic Indicators Cast a Shadow on Oil Markets

The prevailing strength of the U.S. dollar, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s forthcoming meeting, has also exerted pressure on oil markets. While the central bank is largely anticipated to maintain interest rates at their current levels, Federal Reserve officials have also indicated a commitment to keeping rates at higher levels for a prolonged period. This potential long-term stance could impact crude oil demand in the coming year.

As anticipation builds for the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, Treasury yields have experienced a notable upswing, adding to market unease.

On a more positive note, GDP data released on Thursday demonstrated that the U.S. economy had grown significantly more than initially projected in the third quarter. This development has given rise to optimism that oil demand within the world’s largest consumer of fuel will remain steady in the forthcoming months.

However, these encouraging signs were juxtaposed with a series of disappointing economic indicators emanating from the eurozone, signaling a slowdown in business activity that could potentially lead to a recession within the region in the present year.

Additional concerns related to oil demand emerged from China, as Beijing proposed the implementation of a domestic oil refining cap aimed at curbing carbon emissions. This proposal, to some extent, offset the news of further stimulus measures within the country.

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