Oil prices up amid increasing concerns in Middle East

Tensions in Lebanon have sparked uncertainty about oil supply in Middle East, accounting for 15% of global output

Sibel Morrow   | 05.08.2020
Oil prices up amid increasing concerns in Middle East


Crude oil prices climbed on Wednesday following an explosion at Lebanon's main port feeding concerns about a regional turmoil and a large fall in US crude oil stocks.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $44.45 per barrel at 0624 GMT for a 0.24% increase after closing Tuesday at $44.34 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $41.73 a barrel at the same time for a 2.51% decline after ending the previous session at $40.68 per barrel.

Late on Tuesday, a fire at a warehouse containing explosives at the Port of Beirut led to the blast, which levelled a three-story building and was heard across the city and its suburbs.

More than 4,000 people have been wounded and 100 people died.

Tensions in Lebanon have fed worries about possible disruptions in exports from the Middle East, the world's largest oil producing region accounting for around 15% of global output.

In the meantime, a significant decline in U.S. crude oil inventories provides support for the prices.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported last week its estimate of a 6.8 million barrel decrease in US crude oil inventories for the week ending July 24.

As a sign for a potential rise in US oil demand, it calmed some investor concerns amid the growing surplus of oil supply on the global market.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases worldwide also tend to indicate that global oil consumption is likely to remain low over 2020.

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has now surpassed 18 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

As the US leads the number of cases with almost 4.7 million as of Tuesday morning, Brazil has over 2.8 million, and India follows with more than 1.9 million cases.

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