Oil rises on improved manufacturing data as tensions rise in Middle East

By Colleen Howe

BEIJING (Reuters) – Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Tuesday on signs of improving demand and rising tensions in the Middle East, pushing U.S. futures to a five-month high in the previous session.

Brent futures for June delivery rose 37 cents to $87.79 a barrel by 0046 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for the May contract rose 32 cents to $84.03 a barrel.

Stronger-than-expected U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data are boosting prices, IG market analyst Tony Sycamore wrote in a note.

Manufacturing activity in China and the US rose in March for the first time in six months and 1-1/2 years, respectively, which markets saw as an indicator of rising oil demand. China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil while America is the largest consumer.

Sycamore said US futures could rise to the mid-$90s if they break the technical resistance level of $84.00 a barrel. The last time the early-month WTI contract reached the $95 per barrel level was in August 2022.

The front-month contract closed at $83.71 a barrel on Monday, the highest since October 2023.

In the Middle East, an Israeli attack on Iran’s embassy in Syria killed seven military advisers, including three senior commanders, escalating a conflict that has lasted nearly half a year and raising concerns about more concrete impacts on oil supplies.

“To date, the market has not been concerned about supply disruptions, given the war has been contained. Iran’s involvement could put its oil supplies at risk,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold an online meeting of its Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee on Wednesday to review the market and…

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