Home Investing News Oil prices pressured by Gaza ceasefire chatter, strong dollar

Oil prices pressured by Gaza ceasefire chatter, strong dollar


Oil prices pressured by Gaza ceasefire chatter, strong dollar By Investing.com

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AuthorAmbar WarrickCommodities

Published Mar 21, 2024 10:19PM ET

© Reuters.

Investing.com– Oil prices fell in Asian trade on Friday, and were set for a muted finish to the week as reports of renewed calls for a Israel-Hamas ceasefire pointed to fewer supply disruptions in the Middle East.

A sharp rebound in the dollar also dented crude, as an unexpected interest rate cut by the Swiss National Bank saw traders pivot into the greenback en masse. The dollar index was back at two-week highs after sliding in the wake of a seemingly dovish Federal Reserve meeting this week.

Brent oil futures fell 0.4% to $85.41 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.5% to $80.25 a barrel by 21:46 ET (01:46 GMT). Both contracts were set for a flat-to-low weekly performance.

Gaza ceasefire, strong dollar spur profit-taking 

Reuters reported that the U.S. is set to table a United Nations draft resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, with the move expected by as soon as Friday. 

A ceasefire represents a de-escalation in the Israel-Hamas war, and could potentially clear some uncertainty over supply disruptions stemming from the conflict- particularly Houthi attacks along shipping routes in the Red Sea. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that he believed talks in Qatar could bring a Gaza ceasefire. 

Reports of the ceasefire, coupled with renewed strength in the dollar, spurred heavy profit-taking in crude markets. Oil prices had surged to four-month highs earlier in March on the prospect of tighter global supplies and improving demand. 

Tighter supply bets limit oil losses

While crude prices fell from four-month highs, losses were limited as traders still considered a tighter outlook for oil markets in 2024.

U.S. inventories unexpectedly shrank in the week to March 15, while major members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries signaled they were reducing their oil exports.

Strikes on Russian fuel refineries by Ukraine also pointed to lower fuel production in the country. 

Expectations of tighter supplies were also accompanied by an improving outlook for demand, especially in the face of a stronger U.S. economy, and a potential recovery in China. 

U.S. manufacturing activity grew more than expected in March, while services remained in expansion, purchasing managers index data showed on Thursday.

Oil prices pressured by Gaza ceasefire chatter, strong dollar

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