Oil prices rise slightly despite weekly losses amid tensions in Middle East


(MENAFN) Oil prices witnessed a modest uptick on Friday, albeit recording a weekly loss, as Iran downplayed suspected Israeli attacks on its territory. This development hinted at a potential de-escalation of hostilities in the volatile Middle East region. Brent crude futures edged up by 18 cents to settle at USD87.29 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May delivery saw an increase of 41 cents, reaching USD83.14 per barrel upon settlement.

The most actively traded futures contract for June delivery also experienced a slight rise, climbing by 12 cents to USD82.22 a barrel. Earlier in the session, both benchmarks surged by more than three dollars a barrel following reports of explosions in the Iranian city of Isfahan, which sources attributed to an Israeli attack. However, the gains were short-lived as Tehran downplayed the incident, indicating its lack of plans for a retaliatory response.

Tim Snyder, an economist at Matador Economics, characterized the market's reaction as a "big show," with prices quickly falling after the initial spike. Investor sentiment remained cautious amid concerns over potential escalations in tensions between Israel and Iran, particularly following recent incidents involving suspected drone and missile attacks.

Of particular significance was Israel's response to Iranian aggression, notably the drone and missile attacks on April 13 in retaliation to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus on April 1. The outcome of these events has been closely monitored by market participants, influencing price movements and contributing to overall market volatility.

The fluctuating dynamics in the Middle East continue to play a pivotal role in shaping oil prices, with geopolitical tensions and the potential for military confrontations serving as key drivers of market sentiment. While the immediate impact of recent developments led to a temporary surge in prices, the underlying uncertainty surrounding the region's stability underscores the challenges facing oil markets in the weeks ahead.

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