Oil prices rose sharply on Monday morning following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel last weekend. Fears of further escalation of the conflict fueled concerns about crude oil supplies from the Middle East. Gold, seen as a safe haven in uncertain times, has risen in price. The US dollar and Japanese yen, considered safe haven investments, also rose.
The price of a barrel of US WTI oil (159 liters) rose 4 percent to $86.07. Brent, a benchmark for oil from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is currently up 3.7 percent at $87.72 a barrel. Last week, oil prices fell sharply on weakening demand for gasoline in the United States and fears of a recession due to higher interest rates. A strong dollar puts pressure on prices because it makes oil more expensive for traders with other currencies. This undermines the question. Gold rose more than one percent to $1,865 a troy ounce (31.1 grams).
The Hamas offensive and Israel’s declaration of war in response has already killed more than a thousand people. The US has also indicated that it will send warships to the area. American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal also reported that Iranian security officials were helping Hamas plan an attack on Israel.
Iran is a major oil producer and supporter of Hamas. Any retaliation against Tehran could affect shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has frequently threatened to close that vital supply channel. However, the country denied any involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel on Monday, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported. The Iranian delegation to the UN issued a statement in this regard. Iran will support the Palestinians without reservation, the statement said.
The effects of the Israeli strikes also reverberated through Middle East stock markets on Sunday, where there were significant price losses. Asian stock markets showed a mixed picture on Monday. In Shanghai, the main index fell 0.7 percent as investors returned after a national holiday week. (AP)
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