Oil prices moved sharply higher Thursday, before falling back, as Saudi Arabia conducts a military offensive against its neighbor Yemen.

The price of the global benchmark Brent crude oil rose nearly 6 percent Thursday. Brent is currently up 4.4 percent at $58.96 a barrel from its closing price of $56.77 Wednesday.

The American benchmark West Texas Intermediate, WTI, rose 7 percent to $52.44 per barrel, from $48.98 percent at closing Wednesday.

Bab el-Mandab is the fourth biggest choke point for oil in the world, with 3.8 million barrels per day of oil in transit, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies expected “escalation into a larger proxy war” if the situation in Yemen deteriorates.

Iran had voiced its concerns numerous times in the past about plummeting oil prices and blamed Saudi Arabia, which is the most influential OPEC member.

The oil cartel decided against cutting back on production on Nov. 27, 2014 to maintain market share against non-OPEC countries’ rising oil output levels.

Iran President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani said on Jan. 13 that low oil prices are “a plot,” adding that if Iran suffers from the drop, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will suffer more.

 

AFP

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