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Bangladesh grapples with soaring dollar prices amid illegal trading By Investing.comBangladesh grapples with soaring dollar prices amid illegal trading By Investing.com

Crude Oil’s Weekly Performance: A Steep Downward Trend

This week’s crude oil market was characterized by a notable downturn, marking the third consecutive week of decline. Brent crude futures for January saw a modest rise of 0.5% to $80.41 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for December edged up by 0.4% to $76.04. Despite these small gains, the overall weekly trend was negative, with Brent futures falling 5.7% and WTI dropping 5.9%, resulting in the longest weekly losing streak since April-May.

Middle East Tensions and Market Impact

Initially, the market was influenced by the Israel-Hamas conflict, raising concerns over potential supply disruptions from the Middle East. However, as the conflict remained confined within Gaza, these fears started to subside. The situation further stabilized following the White House’s announcement of Israel’s agreement to pause military operations in northern Gaza for a few hours daily, which helped alleviate supply disruption fears.

China’s Economic Data Weighing on Demand

Adding to the market’s complexities was China, the world’s largest oil importer, showing signs of an economic slowdown. This development, coupled with Chinese refiners reducing crude oil orders from Saudi Arabia, amplified the demand worries, exerting additional downward pressure on oil prices.

Analysts Maintain Optimism

In contrast to the recent price drops, analysts at Citi remain optimistic about the market’s potential recovery. They cite easing refinery maintenance and a change in investor sentiment following the recent sell-offs as factors supporting a rebound. Furthermore, they highlight the potential upside risks such as possible interventions by OPEC and its allies to stabilize prices and ongoing supply risks in the Middle East.

Outlook for the Coming Week: Cautiously Bullish

The short-term outlook for crude oil prices appears cautiously optimistic. The easing of supply disruption fears, especially in the Middle East, coupled with potential actions by OPEC and its allies, suggests a possible consolidation phase for prices. However, the market continues to be overshadowed by demand concerns, particularly from China, which remains a critical factor for global oil dynamics.

In conclusion, while the immediate market sentiment leans towards cautious optimism, the interplay between diminishing supply concerns and persistent demand challenges will be key in determining the market direction in the upcoming week.

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