(MENAFN) Oil prices experienced a modest increase during the week ending March 24 due to a range of factors, including supply uncertainties following the United States' announcement on Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) and escalating tensions between the United States and Iran in eastern Syria. The international benchmark Brent crude opened at USD73.01 per barrel but rose by 0.43 percent to close at USD73.33 per barrel at 2.01 p.m. (1101 GMT) on Friday. Similarly, the American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) opened at USD66.62 per barrel on Monday but rose by 0.84 percent to close at USD67.18 per barrel at the same time on Friday.
The week began on a negative note with concerns over reduced demand triggered by a global economic recession and low demand caused by the financial crisis in the United States following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. These factors contributed to a downward trajectory in oil prices that continued into Tuesday. Investors also remained uncertain about the United States Federal Reserve's (Fed) next moves ahead of its announcement regarding interest rates on Wednesday.
Despite a banking crisis that saw the sudden demise of four banks in a matter of weeks, the Fed went ahead to raise its benchmark interest rate by another 25 basis points on Wednesday. This decision may have contributed to the slight increase in oil prices towards the end of the week. However, prices remained volatile due to other factors such as supply uncertainties and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
As oil prices continue to fluctuate, it is important to keep an eye on global economic trends, energy policies, and geopolitical developments to anticipate possible effects on supply and demand. Investors and industry experts will also continue to closely monitor the actions of major players in the energy sector, such as OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to gauge the future direction of oil prices.
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