Increasing Oil Prices Linked to Supply Shortages and Positive U.S. Economic Indicators


Increasing Oil Prices Linked to Supply Shortages and Positive U.S. Economic Indicators

Oil prices in early Asian trade on Thursday saw an increase due to concerns about lower supply, with major producers maintaining output cuts in place. Additionally, signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, contributed to the rise in prices.

Brent futures for June rose by 15 cents, settling at $89.51 a barrel at 0037 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures for May also rose by 15 cents to $85.59 a barrel. Both the June Brent contract and the May WTI contract have experienced increases for the past four days, closing on Wednesday at their highest levels since the end of October.

Recent events, such as Ukraine’s attacks on Russian refineries disrupting fuel supply, and concerns about the Israel-Hamas conflict possibly spreading to include Iran and disrupting supplies in the Middle East, have contributed to the rise in oil prices.

A meeting held by top ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies chose to keep current oil supply policy unchanged on Wednesday. Some countries were encouraged to increase compliance with output cuts, while Russia announced a shift towards output cuts rather than export curbs.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s cautious approach to future interest rate cuts, based on recent data showing higher-than-expected job growth and inflation, was seen as positive for oil prices. The comments indicated strong economic growth in the U.S., according to Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for U.S. Bank’s asset management group.

Iran’s vow to seek revenge against Israel for an attack that killed high-ranking Iranian military personnel on Monday has also impacted oil prices. Iran, as the third-largest producer in OPEC, plays a significant role in the oil market.

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