Weekly Increase in Oil Prices Anticipated Due to Middle East Supply Concerns and US Economic Growth
After reaching their highest point since December in the previous session, oil prices dipped on Friday, but according to Reuters, they were poised for their largest weekly rise since October as optimism over fuel consumption was bolstered by hints of Chinese stimulus and good US economic growth.
By 7:45 a.m. Saudi time, Brent crude futures had dropped 38 cents, or 0.46 percent, to $82.05 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate oil dropped to $76.86, a decrease of 50 cents, or 0.65%.
The US benchmark was expected to rise 4.8%, while the Brent benchmark was expected to conclude the week 4.5 percent higher. Both were expected to see their greatest weekly increase since the week ending October 13, which marked the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, and their second consecutive week of advances.
Prices fell somewhat on Friday due to indications that the Red Sea oil supply interruptions may abate. China is exerting pressure on Iran to reduce the Houthi militia, which is affiliated with Iran and launched attacks on ships in the waters off Yemen in revenge for Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
According to insiders, Chinese authorities have urged their Iranian colleagues to assist in stopping the attacks or face the possibility of sour commercial ties with Beijing.
But until help reaches Palestinians in Gaza, the Houthis are determined to keep attacking Israeli-affiliated ships, the group’s leader declared on Thursday.
Investors priced in more disruption because prior US and UK military actions in the Red Sea had not stopped attacks, according to Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
The Brent futures market structure makes these disruption worries clear. At $2.53 per barrel, the premium of the first-month Brent future to the sixth-month contract reached its biggest level since November.
When prompt prices exceed later prices, this market structure—known as backwardation—indicates that traders anticipate tighter supply and higher demand.
Data released on Thursday revealed that the US economy—the largest consumer of oil worldwide—grew faster than anticipated in the fourth quarter, boosting demand enthusiasm.
To promote economic growth, China, the second-largest oil consumer in the world, has declared a significant reduction in bank reserves.
The oil markets had entered a “short-term uptrend phase,” according to Kelvin Wong, a markets analyst at OANDA in Singapore, driven by technical reasons.
Wong continued, stating that prices had “further positive momentum follow-through after more liquidity easing from China’s central bank.”
This week’s gains in oil were also aided by a bigger-than-expected reduction in crude stockpiles and a disruption in the fuel supply following an attack by a Ukrainian drone on a southern Russian oil plant focused on exports.