Oil prices rose sharply on Monday morning, following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel last weekend. Fears of further escalation of the conflict have raised concerns about crude oil supplies from the Middle East. Gold, seen as a safe haven in times of uncertainty, has also become more expensive. The value of the US dollar and the Japanese yen, which are also considered safe investments, also increased.
The price of a barrel of US West Texas Intermediate crude (159 litres) rose by 4 percent to $86.07. As for Brent crude, the standard for oil from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, its price is currently rising by 3.7 percent to reach $87.72 per barrel. Oil prices fell sharply last week due to weak demand for gasoline in the United States and fears of a recession due to high interest rates. The strength of the dollar also puts pressure on prices, because it makes oil more expensive for traders in other currencies. This undermines the question. Gold became more than one percent more expensive at $1,865 per troy ounce (31.1 grams).
The Hamas attack and Israel’s declaration of war in response left more than a thousand dead. The United States also indicated that it would send warships to the region. The American business newspaper The Wall Street Journal also reported that Iranian security officials helped Hamas plan the attack on Israel.
Iran is a major oil producer and supporter of Hamas. Any retaliation against Tehran could jeopardize the passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has often threatened to close this important supply channel. However, the country on Monday denied involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported. The Iranian delegation to the United Nations issued a statement to this effect. The statement stated that Iran will support the Palestinians without reservations.
The consequences of the Israeli attacks also reverberated on stock markets in the Middle East on Sunday, where prices suffered huge losses. Asian stock markets showed a mixed picture on Monday. In Shanghai, where investors returned after the national holiday week, the main index fell 0.7 percent. (AP)
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