VT Markets APP

Trade CFDs on FX, Gold and more


No Calm in Storm? Oil Prices Rise Even as Middle East Tensions Remain Under Status Quo

April 23, 2024

Geopolitical Concerns Drive Oil Price Increase in Asian Trading

Oil prices witnessed an increase in Asian trading on Tuesday, reflecting a reversal from the downturn observed in the previous session. This change underscores the market’s ongoing vigilance concerning geopolitical developments in the Middle East. Specifically, Brent crude futures saw a rise of 39 cents, reaching $87.39 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate crude also gained 40 cents, priced at $82.30 a barrel, as of 0033 GMT.

This uptick was followed by despite a decline caused by easing tensions on Monday, where both benchmarks fell by 29 cents. This decline was influenced by perceptions that the recent intensification of tensions between Israel and Iran had minimal immediate effects on the oil supply dynamics from the region. Despite this, the lingering uncertainties continue to foster a cautious market sentiment, emphasizing the potential for continued volatility.

U.S. Sanctions on Iran’s Oil Sector Heighten Global Supply Concerns

A critical aspect contributing to this volatility is the U.S. decision to expand sanctions on Iran’s oil sector. This move encompasses penalties not just on Iran but also on any foreign entities like ports, vessels, and refineries that facilitate the processing or transportation of Iranian crude. This development hints at a broader enforcement landscape which could disrupt some supply lines or alter trade routes, potentially exerting upward pressure on prices if significant disruptions occur.

Geopolitical Trends Signal Potential Challenges for Oil Prices

The ongoing geopolitical narrative, while having eased momentarily in terms of direct market impact, maintains a trend that has been escalating since last October. Analysts from Barclays have expressed concerns over these developments, suggesting that while the immediate threat to oil markets may have subsided, the persistent elevation in geopolitical risk poses an underlying threat to stability.

Their forecast for Brent crude remains around $90 a barrel for the year, acknowledging that risks are tilted towards the higher end of the spectrum.In the immediate term, market participants are also focusing on the anticipated data regarding U.S. crude oil and refined product inventories. Expectations lean towards an increase in crude inventories and a decline in refined product stockpiles. Such trends typically suggest a slowing demand for end products, which could counterbalance any upward price pressures from geopolitical tensions.

Start trading now — click here to create your live VT Markets account.