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Oil futures rose Friday, on track for weekly gains as concerns over shipping disruptions via the Red Sea provided support.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery


    rose 58 cents, or 0.8%, to $74.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • February Brent crude

    the global benchmark, was up 47 cents, or 0.6%, at $79.63 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

  • January gasoline
    rose 0.4% to $2.166 a gallon, while January heating oil
    was up 0.3% at $2.677 a gallon.

  • January natural gas
    gained 0.6% to $2.588 per million British thermal units.

Market drivers

Both Brent and WTI were on track for a weekly gain of around 4%. Several shipping companies have suspended shipments through the Red Sea after a series of drone and missile attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. The U.S. earlier this week announced a naval coalition would move to halt the attacks.

“A perfect storm has erupted, as low water levels in the Panama Canal have coincided with shipping companies avoiding the Suez Canal following attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea,” Kieran Tompkins, commodities economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

Read: Attacks in the Red Sea add to global shipping woes

Oil futures fell Thursday after Angola announced it would leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The move by itself is unlikely to have any impact on prices, analysts said. Underinvestment has left the country struggling to increase output, leaving it unlikely to produce much beyond its previous OPEC quota, Tompkins said.

Read: Angola leaves OPEC, raising questions about ‘unity and harmony’ within oil cartel

“It does, however, suggest that cracks may be forming in OPEC. If larger producers with available spare capacity — some such as the U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates) have publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the group’s decisions recently — were to follow Angola out the door, prices would come under downward pressure,” he wrote.

The Year Ahead: Why oil may not see a return to $100 a barrel in 2024

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