Oil prices remain unchanged amid falling U.S. demand, geopolitical uncertainty


(MENAFN) On Thursday, oil prices remained largely unchanged as demand for fuel
dwindled in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, amidst indications of an economic slowdown and apprehensions regarding an escalating conflict in the Middle East. Brent crude
futures saw a modest increase of nine cents to reach USD88.11 a barrel by 0420 GMT, following a 0.5 percent decline in the previous session. Similarly, US West Texas Intermediate crude
futures for June delivery rose by seven cents to USD82.88 a barrel, after experiencing a 0.6 percent decrease on Wednesday.

Recent data from the US Energy Information Administration revealed a decline in gasoline
demand, with consumption decreasing by 2.8 percent in the week ending April 19 compared to the previous week, and by 11 percent in comparison to the same period last year. This downward trend coincides with signs of sluggishness in US business activity observed in April, with inflation and employment figures outperforming expectations. The robustness of these economic indicators suggests that the Federal Reserve may defer an anticipated interest rate cut, potentially impacting overall economic sentiment.

Imril Jamil, a senior oil analyst at Oil Research at the London Stock Exchange Group, attributed the current stagnation in oil prices to a shift in market sentiment towards global economic headwinds stemming from geopolitical tensions. Jamil noted that despite crude
oil prices surpassing the USD90 per barrel threshold, market sentiment has been refocused on broader economic concerns, thereby tempering price movements.

Overall, the static nature of oil prices reflects a delicate balance between weakening demand in key markets, such as the United States, and geopolitical uncertainties that continue to influence market sentiment. As investors navigate these complex dynamics, the trajectory of oil prices remains closely tied to evolving economic indicators and geopolitical developments.

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