Oil prices experienced a surge on Friday following the initiation of airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against Houthi rebel targets in Yemen. While the primary objective behind these strikes was to safeguard international shipping, there is concern that they could potentially exacerbate the conflict in the region.
Late on Thursday, U.S. and British forces, along with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, carried out the airstrikes. The coalition aimed to disrupt the Houthis' capacity to endanger global trade in the Red Sea.
"In order to safeguard our people and ensure the unimpeded flow of international commerce, I am prepared to take further actions," stated U.S. President Joe Biden in a White House announcement.
As a result of these developments, Brent crude, which serves as the international oil benchmark, rose by 2.4% to reach $79.25 per barrel early on Friday. Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. standard, experienced a 2.6% increase, reaching $73.86 a barrel.
These airstrikes were prompted by a series of attacks on vessels passing through the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels. Furthermore, Iran's navy seized an oil tanker off the coast of Oman on Thursday.
The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has heightened concerns regarding a potentially significant escalation of violence in the Middle East. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are major oil-producing nations. It should be noted that in the past, Iran-backed Houthi rebels targeted Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.