Oil prices rise amid market concerns, Middle East tensions

(MENAFN) Oil prices experienced slight movement on Thursday, following a 3 percent decline in the previous session. Market concerns over demand for oil this year persisted, but there were signs suggesting a potential avoidance of escalating conflict in the Middle East, where many major oil producers are located.

As of 06:36 GMT, brent crude futures saw a modest increase of 13 cents, or 0.15 percent, reaching USD87.42 per barrel. Similarly, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose by six cents, or 0.07 percent, to USD82.75 per barrel.

The drop in both crude oil benchmarks in the prior session was attributed to concerns about weaker-than-expected demand for fuel in 2024. Factors contributing to this sentiment included sluggish economic growth in China and high oil inventories in the United States, the world's largest crude consumer.

JP Morgan estimated that global oil consumption averaged 101 million barrels per day from the beginning of April to date, which falls 200,000 barrels per day short of the bank's initial projections. Moreover, the demand increase of 1.7 million barrels per day since the start of the year fell short of the bank's November forecast of a 2 million barrel per day rise.

Meanwhile, there was speculation among investors that Israel might refrain from retaliating to the recent attack by Iran using drones and missiles on April 13. This attack was seen as a response to an earlier air raid that Israel was accused of conducting on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus on April 1, resulting in the deaths of Iranian military leaders.



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