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Geopolitical Risk Keeps Oil Markets on Edge


March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures have been oscillating within a narrow $8.00 range, displaying resilience in the face of various market forces. Despite this confinement, the market has managed to register a small gain for the week.

In the short term, traders will keep a close watch on the array of elements shaping the oil market, such as evolving tensions in the Middle East, fluctuations in U.S. production, and shifts in global demand. These factors are crucial for understanding both the present situation and future trends in the oil market.

Middle East Tensions

Recent geopolitical developments in the Middle East, particularly Pakistan's strikes inside Iran and reciprocal Iranian actions, have heightened tensions, raising concerns over the security of oil tankers in the Red Sea. While these events have yet to significantly disrupt global oil supplies, they have led to increased shipping costs due to higher freight and insurance rates. The resumption of tanker routes through the Bab al-Mandab Strait signals a cautious normalization in the region, yet the situation remains volatile.

US Production

The U.S. oil industry has been grappling with production challenges, notably in North Dakota, where severe cold weather has led to significant output reductions. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that overall U.S. production reached a new high of 13.3 million barrels per day. However, the extreme weather in North…

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