Crude oil prices rose sharply on Friday amid an escalation in tensions in the Middle East after an airstrike by the U.S. killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.
The U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement that it had killed Qassem Soleimani for his alleged role behind the recent attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The Department of Defense also said that the “strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would be “revenge” for Soleimani’s death.
Data showing a sharp drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week and China’s recent policy easing move contributed as well to oil’s uptick.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended up $1.87, or about 3.1%, at $63.05 a barrel, the highest settlement since May 20.
On Thursday, WTI crude oil futures for February ended up $0.12, or about 0.2%, at $61.18 a barrel, coming off a low of $60.64 a barrel.
For the week, WTI crude oil futures gained about 2.2%.
Brent crude futures were up $2.30, or about 3.5%, at $68.56 an ounce around late afternoon.
According to the data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), crude stockpiles fell by 11.5 million barrels last week, about 3.5 times the expected drop.
The EIA also reported that gasoline stockpiles rose by 3.2 million barrels, versus an expectation for a rise of 1.8 million barrels. Meanwhile, distillates stocks rose by a whopping 8.8 million barrels, compared with forecasts for a climb for 1.1 million.
Meanwhile, data released by Baker Hughes said crude oil rigs in the United States decreased to 670 in the week to January 3, from 677 in the previous week.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com