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Oil futures fell Monday, pulling back after a surge that saw both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude end last week at their highs for February as Middle East tensions rose.

Price moves

  • 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 off 91 cents, or 1.1%, at $81.28 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Market drivers

Both Brent and WTI rose more than 6% last week, with gains tied to worries over the potential escalation of the Israel-Hamas war. But worries appeared to ease somewhat to begin the week, Ewa Manthey and Warren Patterson, commodities strategists at ING, said in a note.

Iran’s foreign minister over the weekend said Tehran had held talks with Saudi Arabia about a political solution to hostilities in Gaza, Reuters reported, and has exchanged messages with the U.S. throughout the four-month Israel-Hamas war.

Meanwhile, trading volumes were relatively subdued due to the Lunar New Year holidays, which have closed Chinese markets, the analysts said.

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