Oil Prices Rise on Strong US Demand and Middle East Tensions

New York — Oil prices experienced an uptick on Friday, driven by robust demand in the United States and escalating tensions in the Middle East. International benchmark Brent crude reached $89.66 per barrel by 10:36 a.m. local time, marking a 0.7 percent increase, while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was priced at $84.05 per barrel, up by 0.6 percent.

According to Philippines News Agency, the increase is partly due to a significant drop in US commercial crude oil inventories, which fell by about 6.4 million barrels to 453.6 million barrels last week, underscoring strong domestic demand. Additionally, rising geopolitical tensions contributed to concerns over oil supply, particularly from the Middle East.

The escalation includes recent actions by Yemen’s Houthi group, which claimed responsibility for attacking an Israeli vessel and multiple targets in Eilat using missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. These developments have heightened concerns over supply disruptions in the region, further supporting the increase in oil prices.

Moreover, ongoing uncertainties about the US Federal Reserve’s timeline for interest rate cuts continue to influence the oil market. The potential for rate cuts has somewhat restrained the upward movement in oil prices, as higher interest rates tend to strengthen the US dollar, making oil more costly for buyers using other currencies.