Oil futures were on track for a third straight rise Wednesday, with the global benchmark pushing back above $80 a barrel, as traders monitored tensions in the Red Sea that have resulted in disruptions to global trade.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery
rose 84 cents, or 1.1%, to $74.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
February Brent crude
the global benchmark, was up 90 cents, or 1.1%, at $80.13 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Oil prices have found support from missile attacks against commercial ships in the Red Sea, which threaten to disrupt global trade routes, said Marios Hadjikyriacos, senior investment analyst at XM, in a note.
“Alas, it’s questionable whether such concerns will manage to keep oil prices supported for long, against the backdrop of slowing demand next year coupled with record-high U.S. crude production,” he wrote.
Several shippers have suspended shipments through the Red Sea after a series of drone and missile attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. On Tuesday, the U.S. announced the launch of an international naval effort to thwart the attacks.
The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported that U.S. crude inventories rose 939,000 barrels last week, according to a source citing the data.
Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due Wednesday morning. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, on average, look for crude inventories to rise by 2.5 million barrels, while stocks of gasoline and distillates are each seen up 700,000 barrels.
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