Oil Prices Rise In Choppy Trade

Oil prices traded sharply higher in European trade on Thursday after two days of losses.

Benchmark Brent crude futures rallied 1.2 percent to $86.86 a barrel, while WTI crude futures were up 1 percent at $84.30.

Oil prices fell earlier in Asian trading, giving up all of the gains seen following Hamas’ attack on Israel last weekend after industry data showed a hefty rise in U.S. crude stocks last week.

The rebound came after OPEC+ leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia reaffirmed their close cooperation in the crude market with a public show of unity.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a Russian TV interview that producers will be “proactive” to bring stability to the oil market.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, meanwhile, said the market balance was fragile.

A weaker dollar and signs of increasing tensions in the Middle East also offered some support.

The dollar held close to a two-week low following dovish Fed commentary and ahead of U.S. inflation data due later in the day.

In the Middle East, Israeli military forces stepped up preparations for a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip to destroy the terror group as the death toll from Hamas’s massive onslaught passed 1,300.

There are concerns that the conflict may spread across the region, endangering crude flows.

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stockpiles swelled by almost 13 million barrels, raising concerns about demand at the largest consumer in the world.

However, stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub dropped back toward critically low levels.

Official inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be out later in the day.

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