The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas has had a significant impact on global oil prices. In the wake of a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, oil prices jumped 4%. This article will delve into the reasons behind this surge in oil prices and analyze the potential long-term effects on the market.
The sudden attack by Hamas led to a knee-jerk reaction in the oil market, causing prices to rise rapidly. However, analysts believe that this surge is likely to be temporary. In order for the conflict to have a lasting impact on oil markets, there needs to be a sustained reduction in oil supply or transport. History has shown that the positive oil price reaction tends to be short-lived and can be easily outweighed by other market forces.
One key factor that limits the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on oil markets is the fact that neither side is a major player in the oil industry. Israel has two oil refineries, but its crude oil and condensate production is virtually non-existent. Similarly, the Palestinian territories do not produce any oil. Therefore, the conflict does not directly endanger major sources of oil supplies.
While the conflict itself may not pose a direct threat to oil supplies, it is crucial to consider the regional context. The conflict is taking place in close proximity to a significant oil producing and export region. Of particular concern is Iran, which looms large as a potential risk to the market. If Western countries officially link Iranian intelligence to the Hamas attack, Iran’s oil supply and exports could face imminent downside risks.
Iran’s oil exports have already been limited since the United States withdrew from the nuclear accord in 2018 and imposed sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue to Tehran. The conflict between Israel and Hamas raises the possibility of further disruptions to Iran’s oil exports. If the conflict escalates and Iran becomes involved, there could be significant supply issues for the market to contend with.
There is also a risk that the conflict could escalate and draw in other regional actors. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has already launched attacks on Israeli-occupied territory. Should the fighting spread to Hezbollah in Lebanon, it could have a dramatic effect on the oil market. Any involvement of Hezbollah would not only increase the risk of supply disruptions but could also contribute to a much larger spike in oil prices.
Experts in the industry have made predictions about the potential impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on oil prices. Josh Young, CIO of energy investment firm Bison Interests, forecasts an approximate $5 increase in WTI prices if the United States were to enforce sanctions on Iranian exports. Bob McNally, President of Rapidan Energy Group, suggests that a conflict between Israel and Iran could lead to a $5 to $10 rise in oil prices due to the strategic significance of the Strait of Hormuz.
While the Israel-Hamas conflict has caused an immediate surge in oil prices, many analysts expect this increase to be temporary. The conflict does not directly threaten major oil supplies, but the regional context does raise concerns about potential disruptions. The involvement of Iran or other regional actors could have a larger impact on the market. As the conflict continues to unfold, it will be crucial to closely monitor its effects on oil prices and global energy markets.