Energy News

Oil prices extend declines as Middle East war concerns ease

Oil prices dipped on Friday as the threat of war in the Middle East receded and investors switched their attention to rising U.S. crude oil and product inventories.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell 4 cents to $65.33 by 0732 GMT, and was heading for its first decline in six weeks, down nearly 5%.

WTI was down 8 cents at $59.48 and was also on track for its first weekly drop in six, falling nearly 6% from last Friday’s close.

Oil is now below where it was before a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general on Jan. 3, with Iran responding with a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi air bases hosting U.S. forces this week that left no casualties.

“Although markets are rightly pricing in a lower risk of … supply-side disruptions in the Middle East, we still think there remains some ongoing risk to output from geopolitical issues in the region,” J.P.Morgan said in a commodities note.

A Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran in the early hours of Wednesday after Iran launched the attacks on the bases in Iraq, was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

All the nearly 180 passengers on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev from Tehran died in the crash. Iran denied it was hit by a missile.

For now though oil investors are focusing on areas away from the conflict.

Crude stocks in the world’s biggest producer rose against forecast last week and gasoline inventories were up by the most in a week in four years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. [EIA/S]

“There’s too much supply out there,” a Japan-based based oil executive told Reuters.

Image: Reuters

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