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Oil prices rise on strong China growth and Middle East conflict, brent crude at $84.24/bbl

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Oil prices climbed higher on Friday, extending their upward trajectory fueled by positive indicators of economic improvement in China. Additionally, the ongoing negotiations to ease tensions between Israel and Hamas, which have so far yielded no results, contributed to the bullish sentiment in the market.

Brent futures rose 37 cents, or 0.4%, reaching $84.24 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude grew by 41 cents, or 0.5%, to $79.64 as of 0003 GMT.

Also read: Gold price declines ahead of US inflation data, silver gains marginally

The previous session also saw a lift in oil prices to a one-week high, supported by reports of increased crude oil imports in China during April. Furthermore, investors interpreted the cooling U.S. job market as a potential signal for future interest rate cuts, further buoying oil prices.

“Crude oil prices are likely to see some consolidative moves this week with too many important data lined-up, of which focus will be on the monthly reports of OPEC and International Energy Agency (IEA) and the weekly U.S. oil inventory data from EIA – for cues on the demand/ supply equation,” said Pranav Mer, VP – Research (Commodity & Currency) BlinkX and JM Financial.

What’s weighing on crude oil prices?

  • In April, China’s exports and imports rebounded into growth territory after experiencing a contraction in the preceding month, indicating a positive shift in demand.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly expressed significant uncertainty regarding the future direction of inflation in the United States during her remarks on Thursday. Despite this uncertainty, she remains confident that price pressures are gradually subsiding. Daly refrained from speculating on whether she believes the U.S. central bank will opt to lower interest rates within the year. However, financial markets anticipate the U.S. central bank to commence its easing cycle in September.

Also read: Oil suffers weekly loss on stronger US dollar, record-high Fed rates; Brent sticks to $82/bbl

  • On Thursday last week, according to Palestinian residents, Israeli forces launched airstrikes on parts of Rafah, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shrugged off U.S. President Joe Biden’s warning to withhold weapons from Israel in case of attacks on the southern Gaza city.
  • A senior Israeli official confirmed late on Thursday that the latest round of indirect negotiations in Cairo aimed at halting hostilities in Gaza had concluded. Despite this, Israel indicated it would continue with its planned military operation in Rafah and other areas of the Gaza Strip.

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