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Friday, 14. June 2024

Oil Prices Edge Higher with Iran in Focus After Helicopter Crash


Oil prices experienced a slight increase in Asian trade on Monday as traders awaited more information regarding rescue efforts for Iran’s President following a helicopter crash.

Crude prices maintained gains from last week, bolstered by the potential for U.S. interest rate cuts and improved demand from major importer China, which heightened crude market appetite.

The U.S. government’s announcement of purchasing approximately 3.3 million barrels of oil to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve also buoyed the market.

Brent oil futures for July delivery rose by 0.3% to $84.19 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by 0.2% to $79.70 a barrel by 22:08 ET (02:08 GMT).

Iranian Stability in Focus After Helicopter Crash

Media reports indicated that a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed in mountainous terrain over the weekend due to adverse weather conditions. Rescue operations were launched, with Reuters reporting that some Iranian officials feared for Raisi’s safety.

Raisi, considered a potential successor to Iran’s supreme leader, the highest political position in the oil-producing nation, was at the center of these concerns.

The helicopter crash and uncertainty regarding Raisi’s condition occur amidst ongoing tensions in the Middle East, following reciprocal strikes between Israel and Iran earlier this year. Additionally, Iran has consistently criticized Israel’s continued offensive against Gaza, which persisted over the weekend.

Fears of continued instability in the Middle East disrupting oil supplies have supported oil prices, keeping Brent trading comfortably above $80 for most of 2024.

Rate Uncertainty and OPEC Anticipation Keep Markets Cautious

Oil markets remained cautious ahead of several key economic indicators and events this week.

The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s late-April meeting are expected this week, alongside addresses from various Fed officials.

Market participants are also on alert for the upcoming Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) meeting scheduled for June 1. Any updates on the cartel’s plans to maintain ongoing production cuts will be closely watched.

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