(London) Crude prices jumped on Friday, with Brent surpassing $80, following US and British bombings against Houthi rebels in Yemen, with the market interpreting the strikes as an escalation of conflict in the Middle East and fearing disruptions supply.
Around 7:50 a.m., the price of a barrel of Brent from the North Sea, for delivery in March, rose 3.46%, to 80.10 dollars, exceeding the threshold of 80 dollars per barrel for the first time since the end of December.
Its American equivalent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for delivery in February, rose 3.57% to $74.59.
The two global benchmarks for black gold even briefly jumped by more than 4%.
Oil prices are rising “following the US and UK attack on more than 60 Houthi rebel targets in Yemen,” comments Seb analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.
The United States and the United Kingdom carried out overnight airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have for weeks been increasing attacks on maritime traffic in the Red Sea in “solidarity” with the Palestinians in Gaza, territory ravaged by the war between Israel and Hamas.
In a joint statement, Washington, London and eight of their allies including Australia, Canada and Bahrain stressed that the operation, carried out in a context of high regional tension, aimed at “de-escalation” and “restoring peace. stability in the Red Sea”.
They “hope that these attacks will put an end to the rocket and drone attacks carried out by the Houthis,” continues Mr. Schieldrop, which would thus allow oil to be transported normally through the Red Sea, and would lower crude prices.
“The Red Sea route, which leads to the Suez Canal, is crossed by the main shipping lanes between Asia and the West and is the main export route for Gulf oil,” explains Ricardo Evangelista, analyst at ActivTrades.
The risks linked to the global supply of black gold are thus resurfacing “while one of the most critical oil supply channels to the West is threatened,” he adds.
According to Seb, if the situation worsens and oil tankers are forced to avoid the Red Sea around Africa, then an additional 40 to 80 million barrels of oil would likely be stuck in transit.