By Katya Golubkova
TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday after Israel rejected a ceasefire proposal from Hamas, as talks continued to end the Gaza conflict and broader Middle East tensions that have kept markets on edge since October. .
Signs of solid fuel demand in the US also boosted the market’s gains this week.
Brent crude futures were up 22 cents, or 0.28%, at $79.43 a barrel at 0132 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 19 cents, or 0.26%, at $74.05 a barrel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas’ latest offer for a ceasefire and the return of hostages in the Gaza Strip, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was still room for negotiations towards a deal.
A Palestinian Hamas delegation led by senior official Khalil al-Haya was due to travel to Cairo on Thursday for ceasefire talks with Egypt and Qatar.
On the demand side, the market continued to be boosted by a stronger than expected decline in US gasoline stocks on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 3.15 million barrels last week, compared with analysts’ estimates of 140,000 barrels.
A decline in gasoline stocks and a 13% year-on-year rise in U.S. oil exports to a record 4.06 million barrels per day in 2023 “both indicate strong demand for crude,” ANZ Research said in a note. .
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova in Tokyo; Editing by Sonali Paul)