Oil prices back off three-week high on profit-taking

2024-02-20 12:55PM UTC

Global oil prices fell in European trade on Tuesday for the first time in four sessions off three-week highs on active profit-taking. 


Losses are stymied by growing tensions in the Middle East which threaten to disrupt global supplies, while hopes grow for stronger fuel demand in China.


Prices Today 


US crude fell 0.75% to $77.55 a barrel, while Brent slipped 0.7% to $82.74, with a session-high at $83.60. 


US crude rose 0.1% on Monday, the third profitt in a row, while Brent added 0.2%, approaching three-week highs at $83.63.  


Red Sea Tensions 


Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East continue to grow, as Israel continues to launch strikes against Hamas militants in Rafah, while western nations, led by the US, are calling for a ceasefire. 


A UK-registered cargo ship reported a new attack from Yemen’s coasts on Sunday, with the crew leaving the ship after an explosion. 


The Iran-backed Houthi group said it won’t stop escalating conditions in the Red Sea until the Israel war with the Gaza strip is over.


Chinese Demand 


Many analysts expect fuel demand to rebound in China as economic activities resume in full following the New Lunar Year holiday. 


Chinese authorities recently took fresh stimulus measures to support struggling growth, which is expected to reflect on fuel demand. 


The People’s Bank of China cut the reference interest rates for real estate loans by more than expected on Tuesday in an attempt to buoy the struggling sector. 

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