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Oil prices bounce as traders weigh Middle East disruptions, supply outlook – MarketWatch

(Economic Times)
(Economic Times)

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK
EnergiesNet.com 01 09 2024

Oil futures rose Tuesday, taking back some of the ground lost in the previous session as traders weighed ongoing tensions in the Middle East and continued disruptions to Red Sea shipping.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude CL00 for February delivery CL.1 CLG24 rose $1.12, or 1.6%, to $71.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • March Brent crude BRN00 BRNH24, the global benchmark was up 94 cents, or 1.2%, at $77.06 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

  • February gasoline RBG24 added 2.2% to $2.072 a gallon.

  • February heating oil HOG24 climbed 1.5% to $2.6154 a gallon.

  • Natural gas for February delivery NGG24 traded at $3.112 per million British thermal units, up 4.4%, with U.S. winter forecasts leading prices to extend gains into a sixth straight session.

Market drivers

WTI plunged more than 4% and Brent fell over 3% on Monday as investors reacted to Saudi Arabia’s decision to slash its official selling price to its main market in Asia and other regions, stoking worries about the strength of demand.

Bulls woke up Tuesday following reports that the Israeli military has stated that it expects the war against Hamas to continue through 2024, StoneX’s Kansas City energy team, led by Alex Hodes, said in a Tuesday note. That “raises the chances of the conflict growing into a regional crisis that could disrupt Middle Eastern oil production.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with senior Israeli leaders Tuesday in an effort to prevent the war in Gaza from escalating into a region conflict, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shipping disruptions in the Red Sea and fears the Israel-Hamas war could spiral into a wider conflict that affects Middle Eastern supplies may help keep a floor under crude, analysts have said, though U.S. crude output at record levels above 13 million barrels a day was seen undercutting efforts by Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ allies to boost prices via production cuts.

“With U.S. oil production at record highs and having the capacity to rise much further as active oil rigs remain fairly low, there is a concern that other major producers like Saudi Arabia will attempt to defend their market share by pumping even more or offering deeper discounts,” Marios Hadjikyriacos, senior investment analyst at XM, said in a note.

“The risk of another price war could keep oil prices on the ropes for some time,” he said.

Read: Record U.S. oil production sparks battle for market share with Saudi Arabia and OPEC+

This week, the oil market will want to see more “cooling inflation data and a resurgence in soft landing hopes as well as evidence that the plunge in domestic demand at the turn of the year was a “one-off,” analysts at Sevens Report Research wrote in Tuesday’s newsletter.

On the charts, the $66 to $70 a barrel area remains critical support for oil prices, they said.

Another factor with the potential to impact prices is the rebalancing of 2024 allocations for the Bloomberg Commodity Index XX:BCOM and S&P GSCI index XX:SPGSCI, said analysts at StoneX.

Bot indexes are set to reduce their exposure to both WTI and natural gas significantly, they said, and more selling pressure could be experienced on the market this week due to rebalancing as the GSCI index has nearly $1 billion in assets under management.

marketwatch.co 01 09 2024

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