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Oil prices increase due to worries about reduced supply and indications of economic growth in the U.S.

On Thursday, oil prices increased in early Asian trade due to concerns about lower supply and output cuts implemented by major producers. Additionally, signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, contributed to the rise in prices. Brent futures for June and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures for May both saw gains, with the June Brent contract and the May WTI contract rising for the past four days.

The uptick in oil prices can be attributed to various geopolitical factors, such as Ukraine’s attacks on Russian refineries affecting fuel supply and concerns about potential disruptions in the Middle East region due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. A meeting of top ministers from OPEC and its allies, including Russia, on Wednesday maintained the current supply policy and urged some countries to adhere to output cuts more strictly. Russia also announced a shift towards output restrictions rather than export curbs.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s cautious approach towards future interest rate hikes, citing strong job growth and inflation, was viewed positively for oil prices as it indicated robust economic growth in the U.S. In addition, Iran’s vow of retaliation against Israel for a recent attack further added to concerns about supply disruptions, as Iran is a significant producer within OPEC. Overall, these factors led to an increase in oil prices on Thursday.

By Samantha Jones

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