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Oil Prices Plunge 3% as Market Weighs Israeli Attack on Gaza

Oil prices plunged by 3% on Monday as market sentiment hedged its bets that Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza would not have global repercussions impacting oil and gas supplies. 

On Monday at 1:45 p.m. Brent crude was trading down 3.09% at $87.68 per barrel for a loss of $2.80 on the day. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading down 3.66% at $82.41 per barrel, for a loss of $3.13 on the day. 

The plunge in prices comes as Israel on Monday intensified its ground invasion in the northern Gaza Strip, with the death toll for Palestinians rising to over 8,300, compared to the death toll among Israelis of 1,400, the majority of whom were killed in Hamas’ initial October 7 attack. 

Oil prices have continued to fall throughout the day, even as the World Bank warns that oil prices could enter “uncharted waters” if the Israel-Hamas conflict expands into the wider Middle East. The World Bank on Monday forecast oil prices to average $81 per barrel in 2024, assuming the Israel-Hamas conflict remained contained. Alternatively, the bank wanted that an expansion of this conflict to multiple fronts could lead to major supply disruption, sending prices as high as $157 per barrel.

Global oil markets are now latching on to a scenario in which the conflict will have a limited impact on commodities markets.  

The general consensus is that the markets had already priced in the Israel ground incursion into Gaza on Friday, and by Monday, other macroeconomic concerns were taking over, including the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting Wednesday on interest rate hikes. For now, analysts are widely expecting rate hike plans to remain unchanged in an atmosphere in which the U.S. economy is growing faster than expected, with 4.9% growth rate in Q3. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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