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Will Middle East Tensions Drive Further Oil Price Hikes?

Escalation in the Middle East

Last week saw a notable rise in oil prices, with crude oil surging over 6%, a significant rebound from the previous week’s downturn. This uptick was largely driven by escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip, especially the bombing of Rafah, heightened market concerns, largely contributing to spike in oil prices.

The rejection of a ceasefire with Hamas and the ongoing hostilities indicate that the market may have previously undervalued the impact of regional instability on oil prices.

Last week, Light Crude Oil Futures settled at $76.84, up $4.56 or + 6.31%.

Weekly Light Crude Oil Futures

Russian Export Increases and Global Response

Adding to the market’s complexity was Russia’s augmented crude exports, exceeding the limits set by the OPEC+ agreement. This rise, caused by drone attacks and technical glitches at Russian refineries, questions Russia’s adherence to production cuts. Further influencing this situation were U.S. sanctions against several entities for violating the price cap on Russian oil, adding another dimension to the global supply landscape.

In the U.S., a return to peak production levels and significant refinery downtimes have tightened the oil market. The country’s output reached 13.3 million barrels per day, while draws in gasoline and middle-distillate stocks underscore a tightening in refinery capacity. These trends, along with a diesel shortage in Europe, have bolstered a bullish sentiment in the oil market.

Forecast for the Coming Week

Continued Market Volatility

The coming week is expected to maintain the trend of volatility in the oil market. Geopolitical risks, especially those emanating from the Middle East, coupled with Russia’s unpredictable export patterns, are likely to keep prices on an upward trend.

Strong Global Demand and U.S. Dollar Impact

Robust demand from key oil consumers like India and the U.S. continues to support bullish market sentiment. However, the influence of the U.S. Dollar on oil prices cannot be overlooked. Its strength could potentially temper global demand for dollar-denominated crude oil.

Bullish Outlook

Taking into account these factors, the short-term forecast for crude oil is bullish. The market appears to be underpricing the risks associated with the ongoing geopolitical tensions and supply constraints.

Traders should brace for potential upward movements in oil prices, particularly if the situation in the Middle East worsens or if Russian export behaviors continue to defy expectations.

The balance between supply concerns and global demand will be pivotal in shaping the market’s direction in the near term.

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Written by : Editorial team of BIPNs

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