Crude Prices Higher on Increased Middle Eastern Tensions; Focus on US Inventories
On Wednesday crude prices were higher, extending the recent rebound as indications of a Middle Eastern supply disruption persisted, before official U.S. crude stockpiles.
U.S. crude futures were up 1.1% at $73.05 per barrel and the Brent contract rose 0.9% to $78.29 per barrel.
According to the US, the attacks on the international shipping lanes in the Red Sea by Yemen-based Houthis have intensified, and British and U.S. naval forces on Tuesday shot down 21 missiles and drones.
The attacks have disrupted international commerce on the major route between Europe and Asia which accounts for around 15% of the shipping traffic globally.
On Tuesday, Hapag Lloyd, the German shipping group said it would for security reasons continue avoiding the Suez Canal and travel around the Cape of Good Hope.
Tuesday’s data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that U.S. inventories dropped by a bigger-than-expected 5.2M barrels in the week that ended on Jan. 5, adding to the big draw seen in the last week of 2023.
In recent months, fuel demand in the U.S. has weakened substantially, mainly due to adverse weather during winter.
The official inventory numbers from the Energy Information Administration will be released later today.