February 23, 2024

Palestinians wait to fill containers with fuel from a petrol station in Gaza city. 

Mohammed Asad | Anadolu | Getty Images

Crude oil futures prices rose for the fourth day in a row Thursday after the U.S. killed a militant commander in Iraq and Israel rejected a ceasefire proposal by Hamas.

The West Texas Intermediate futures contract added $2.19, or 2.97%, to trade at $76.05 a barrel. The Brent contract for April gained $2.20, or 2.78%, to trade at $81.41 a barrel.

U.S. crude and the global benchmark are up 2.19% and 2.77% respectively for the week as the Middle East teeters between another round of violent escalation and a possible truce in the Gaza war.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a diplomatic tour of the region this week in an effort to secure an extended humanitarian pause in Gaza in exchange for the release of hostages by Hamas.

Blinken met Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday to discuss a counterproposal by Hamas that demands a permanent end to the fighting.

Netanyahu rejected the Hamas’ proposal, vowing to press on to the southern city of Rafah on the border with Egypt and achieve “total victory” in Gaza.

A Hamas delegation is in Egypt Thursday to continue ceasefire talks.

The U.S., meanwhile, killed a senior leader of the militant group Kata’ib Hezbollah on Wednesday in a drone strike in Baghdad in response to attacks on American troops, according to U.S. Central Command.

The drone strike Wednesday comes after the U.S. hit sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian forces and allied militants last weekend.

Prices also found support this week after the U.S. Energy Department forecast that domestic crude production would grow slower than originally expected this year, easing worries among traders that the global market is oversupplied.

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