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Oil rises amid concerns over tensions in Middle East

oil stocks

Brent crude futures jumped 20 cents, or 0.3%, to $79.85 a barrel, while U.S. WTI crude futures were up 24 cents, or 0.3%, at $74.35 a barrel

Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Thursday as persistent concerns over growing tensions in the Middle East outweighed easing concerns about transport disruptions as some global shipping firms said they were returning to the Red Sea route.

Brent crude futures jumped 20 cents, or 0.3%, to $79.85 a barrel by 0133 GMT. U.S. WTI crude futures were up 24 cents, or 0.3%, at $74.35 a barrel.

Prices declined nearly 2% on Wednesday as major shipping companies began returning to the Red Sea.

Concerns about shipping in the Red Sea have eased, but continued concerns about tensions in the Middle East, particularly on Iran’s involvement in the region, make it difficult to sell further, said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, president of NS Trading.

The market is likely to try the upside again. Maybe in the early 2024, also on hopes of a recovery in fuel demand thanks to monetary easing in the US and higher kerosene demand during the winter in northern hemisphere, Kikukawa added.

Danish shipping firm Maersk said it has scheduled several dozen container vessels to travel via the Suez Canal and Red Sea in the coming weeks after calling a temporary halt to those routes this month after attacks in the region.

But the prospect of a prolonged war in the region and the spillover of the conflict to attacks on ships in the Red Sea remain major drivers of market sentiment.

Growing expectations that some central banks such as the Fed will start to cut interest rates early next year also lent support.

The market showed little reaction to the build in U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

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