Oil Rises on Red Sea Jitters, Ample Supply Weighs
12.18.2023 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

December 18, 2023 [Reuters]- Oil rose on Monday as attacks by the Houthis on ships in the Red Sea raised concerns of oil supply disruptions, although scepticism around Russia’s plan to cut exports in December limited gains.

 

BP has temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea, it said on Monday, following attacks over the weekend by Houthi forces which control most of Yemen. Other shipping firms said over the weekend that they would avoid the Suez Canal.

Brent crude futures were up 62 cents, or 0.8%, to $77.17 a barrel by 1150 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 47 cents, or 0.7%, to $71.90.

Both crude benchmarks posted small gains last week, following seven weeks of decline, after a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting last week raised hopes that interest rate hikes are over and cuts are on their way.

“The rise in geopolitical risk premium, which has come in the form of regular hostilities towards commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels plays its indisputable part in oil’s resurrection,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

Also adding support, Russia said on Sunday it would deepen oil export cuts in December by potentially 50,000 barrels per day or more, earlier than promised, as the world’s biggest exporters try to support global oil prices.

This comes after Moscow suspended about two-thirds of loadings of its main export grade Urals crude from ports due to a storm and scheduled maintenance on Friday.

Still, PVM’s Varga was sceptical of the extent to which Russia will make voluntary output cuts.

“In reality it is just re-packaging weather-related halts in exports,” he said.

 

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