Today’s market analysis on behalf of Antonio Ernesto Di Giacomo – Market Analyst Latam at

20th February 2024: Washington’s Birthday is celebrated in the United States. On Monday, February 19, 2024, oil markets experienced lower volumes than usual due to this. However, on this day of rest, there was no calm in a global environment marked by turmoil and uncertainty.

The Middle East remained the epicenter of geopolitical tension over the weekend. Israeli incursions resulted in the disabling of the second largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, increasing the humanitarian crisis in the region and generating concern in international markets.

The Houthi group also claimed responsibility for an attack on an oil tanker in the Red Sea. The incident highlights the ongoing instability in the Middle East, raising concerns about the security of oil transportation routes.

Similarly, financial markets are awaiting signals on demand from China, which is crucial due to its position as the world’s second largest consumer, especially after the Chinese New Year festivities. Persistent uncertainty about China’s economic health has driven the marked volatility in oil prices in recent times.

It is important to remember that the Chinese economy experienced year-on-year growth of 5.2% during the last quarter of last year, a figure that, although positive, is below market expectations. This seriously calls into question projections that China’s demand will drive global growth in the oil sector during 2024.

Last Friday, nervousness intensified after US Federal Reserve (Fed) officials indicated the need to be cautious about expectations for interest rate cuts. The increased caution raised concerns about future oil demand in an uncertain global economic context.

Last week, the price of WTI oil rose 3%, indicating an increased risk of escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. At the beginning of the week, the price was in the 76.40 zone and reached the 78.80 zone by the end of the week, demonstrating the market’s sensitivity to global geopolitical and economic events.

In conclusion, oil markets continue to be affected by a mix of geopolitical, economic and supply and demand factors, which keeps investors in a constant state of alert when assessing risks and opportunities in this complex global scenario.

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