Oil Steadies Above $87 as Traders Weigh Easing Middle East Risks

image is BloomburgMedia_SCD8ZLT0G1KW00_23-04-2024_08-27-03_638494272000000000.jpg

A gas flame burns from a pipe close to an offshore oil platform in the Persian Gulf's Salman Oil Field, operated by the National Iranian Offshore Oil Co., near Lavan island, Iran, on Thursday, Jan. 5. 2017. Nov. 5 is the day when sweeping U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors go back into effect after Trump’s decision in May to walk away from the six-nation deal with Iran that suspended them. Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

Oil steadied after a modest loss as traders weighed the next steps between Israel and Iran amid signs of easing hostilities following a tit-for-tat exchange of attacks last week.

Brent traded above $87 a barrel after slipping 0.3% on Monday, and West Texas Intermediate was near $82. Israel is returning to its goals of eliminating what it says is the last remaining stronghold of Hamas in Gaza and of freeing the remaining hostages, which will keep tensions elevated in the region.

“Crude has unwound the Israel-Iran risk premium but could slip into a holding pattern,” said Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights in Singapore. “It’s hard to see a correction from current levels unless there’s a breakthrough on the Gaza front.”


Futures are coming off a back-to-back weekly loss, but remain higher this year due to geopolitical risks and OPEC+ supply cuts that have tightened the market. The US Congress has moved to further curb Iran’s oil sector, although analysts see a muted impact on exports.

Easing tensions are being reflected in the options market, with bullish Brent calls — which profit when prices gain — losing its premium to the opposite puts. However, timespreads are still signaling strength, with the gap between the two nearest contracts for the global benchmark at 94 cents a barrel in backwardation, compared with 79 cents a week ago.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Yongchang Chin


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