NEW YORK: Oil prices sank by about one per cent a barrel on Monday after Iran’s weekend attack on Israel proved to be less damaging than anticipated, easing concerns of a quickly intensifying conflict that could displace crude barrels.

Brent futures for June delivery fell 91 cents to $89.54 a barrel, a 1pc loss, by 1:17pm EDT (1717 GMT). US crude futures for May delivery fell 87 cents to $84.79 per barrel, a 1pc loss.

Oil benchmarks had risen on Friday in anticipation of Iran’s retaliatory assault, with prices soaring to their highest since October.

Israel’s interception of Iran’s attack, which involved more than 300 missiles and drones, calmed fears of a regional conflict affecting oil traffic through the Middle East. “The success of the Israeli defense implies that the geopolitical risk has pulled back considerably,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho bank.

Strong US retail sales data from the Commerce Department also hindered oil prices, Yawger added, by increasing the likelihood that interest rates in the world’s biggest economy would remain higher for longer and reduce demand for oil.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

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