Oil Prices surged higher on Thursday, which is supported by tensions in the Middle East. However, they failed to regain most of the previous day’s losses after a surprise build in crude stockpiles in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer.
Brent crude oil futures rose by 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $70.52 a barrel by 0132 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $68.33 a barrel. Both benchmarks fell by more than $2 a barrel on Wednesday.Israeli aircraft struck what its military said were rocket launch sites in south Lebanon early on Thursday in response to earlier projectile fire towards Israel from Lebanese territory.Two rockets launched from Lebanon on Wednesday struck Israel, which initially responded with artillery fire amid heightened regional tensions over an alleged Iranian attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf last week.
The exchange came after an attack last Thursday that Israel blamed on Iran on a tanker off the coast of Oman. Two crew members, a Briton and a Romanian, were killed. Iran denied any involvement. The U.S. State Department said that they believed Iranians hijacked the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess tanker in the Gulf of Oman but was not in a position to confirm.
Analysts said that helping check gains, a rise in locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer. This has prompted restrictions in some cities and cancellation of flights is threatening demand. Oil Prices dropped in the previous session after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stockpiles rose by an unexpected 3.6 million barrels last week.