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Oil prices drift lower as Israel withdraws more troops from Gaza, news of ceasefire talks 

On Monday, oil prices drifted lower following Israel's announcement of further troop withdrawals from Gaza and the start of renewed talks for a possible ceasefire in the ongoing six-month conflict in the Middle East. 

By 1000 GMT, Brent crude futures fell by 90 cents, or 1%, trading at $90.27 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude decreased by 86 cents, or nearly 0.9%, to $86.05 a barrel.  

This drop came after oil prices had risen by approximately 4% the previous week, fueled by heightened geopolitical tensions. 

Israel said on Sunday that it had pulled additional troops out of southern Gaza, leaving behind only one brigade. This move is part of Israel's efforts to reduce its military presence in Gaza since the start of the year, aiming to relieve reservists while under growing pressure from its allies to improve the humanitarian conditions in the region. 

Meanwhile, ceasefire talks appear to have been rekindled, with representatives from Israel and Hamas traveling to Egypt for negotiations before the Eid holidays. A Hamas official, however, reported on Monday that no progress was made at a new round of talks. 

 

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ANZ Bank points to geopolitical tensions, production cuts, macro backdrop as support factors for oil prices 

In a review of the factors affecting oil prices on April 8, Daniel Hynes, Senior Commodity Strategist at Melbourne-based ANZ Bank. highlighted OPEC production cuts as well as a “broad improvement in the macro backdrop” apart from the war in Gaza: 

“Crude oil held on recent gains as rising tensions in the Middle East raise concerns of supply disruptions. Israel scrambled navigational signals over Tel Aviv as the country prepares for a potential Iranian attack. This follows an airstrike on Iran’s embassy in Syria. Iran and Hezbollah both vowed retaliation. Geopolitical risks have been an ongoing issue for the oil market after a period of relative stability. The increased hostility has damped hopes that the war might remain contained.  

There have also been small, but not insignificant, disruptions in other parts of the oil market. This has not deterred OPEC, which reaffirmed production cuts last week. Clampdowns on adherence to quotas should see output fall in Q2. A broad improvement in the macro backdrop has also boosted sentiment. The prospect of a tighter market during the second quarter should support crude oil prices in coming months.” 

 

Markets await US CPI data, China inflation figures this week 

The oil demand outlook has also been influenced by other factors, such as the U.S. jobs report released last Friday. The new data, which suggested the economy ended Q1 on solid ground, may lead the Federal Reserve to delay interest rate cuts this year. 

Market watchers are keenly awaiting this week's consumer price index data from the U.S. and China, which will provide further insights into the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut timing and the economic vitality of the world's two largest oil consumers. 

John Evans, a broker at PVM, told Reuters that the current physical market conditions do not support a surge in oil prices from $90 a barrel to $100. He added that the commodity’s downside potential was also limited, indicating that oil prices could remain within their recent range in the near term: 

"But given the tinderbox nature of the current geopolitical crisis arenas of the Middle East and Ukraine/Russia and a keener interest from big money, the downside potential is also limited at present," Evans told Reuters. 

 


When considering shares, indices, forex (foreign exchange) and commodities for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant degree of risk and could result in capital loss. 

Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be construed to be investment advice. 

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