Oil futures experienced a decrease on Monday, following a surge in prices last week due to escalating tensions in the Middle East. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude ended the week at their highest levels for February.

Price movements

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery fell 84 cents, or 1.1%, to $76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • April Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 91 cents, or 1.1%, at $81.28 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Market drivers

Brent and WTI both saw gains of more than 6% last week, driven by concerns over the potential escalation of the Israel-Hamas war. However, these worries seemed to ease at the beginning of this week, as reported by commodities strategists at ING, Ewa Manthey and Warren Patterson.

According to Reuters, Iran's foreign minister announced that talks had taken place between Tehran and Saudi Arabia regarding a political solution to the hostilities in Gaza. The foreign minister also mentioned ongoing communication with the United States throughout the four-month Israel-Hamas conflict.

Furthermore, trading volumes remained relatively low due to the Lunar New Year holidays which have temporarily closed Chinese markets.

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