Oil rises as traders focus on Red Sea concerns

Today oil prices experienced an increase, following a rise of over one percent in the previous session. This surge was attributed to concerns about potential disruptions in global trade and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, triggered by Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

As of 01:37 GMT, Brent crude futures saw a six-cent rise, equivalent to 0.1 percent, reaching $79.29 per barrel. Simultaneously, US West Texas Intermediate crude recorded $74.11 per barrel, reflecting a 17-cent increase, or 0.2 percent.

In response to these concerns, Washington established a task force on Tuesday to safeguard trade in the Red Sea. Attacks by Iranian-backed Yemeni militants prompted major shipping companies to alter their routes, raising apprehensions about ongoing disruptions in global trade.

The Houthi rebels have declared their intention to challenge the US-led naval mission and continue targeting ships in the Red Sea in support of the Hamas movement governing the Gaza Strip.

Although approximately 12 percent of global shipping traffic passes through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, analysts suggest that the impact on oil supplies has been limited thus far. Most Middle East crude is exported through the Strait of Hormuz.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Energy announced the purchase of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil for delivery in February, bringing total purchases to about 11 million. This move is part of an ongoing effort to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after the largest sale in history last year.

Sources, citing data from the American Petroleum Institute, revealed that US crude and fuel inventories increased last week, contrary to analysts’ expectations of a decline in crude inventories in a Reuters poll. Official US inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration is scheduled for release at 15:30 GMT today.

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