Middle East Conflict Could Push Oil Prices to the Top and Drive Global Inflation, Says World Bank

By Thea Felicity

Apr 25, 2024 02:30 PM EDT

Oil Prices Expected to Rise as Israel Responds to Iran's Missile, Drone Attack
A gas pump is seen situated into a vehicle at a Shell gas station on August 03, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
(Photo : Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The World Bank has issued a cautionary note, indicating that a serious escalation of conflicts in the Middle East could drive oil prices above $100 a barrel, potentially reversing the recent downward trend in global inflation, according to The Guardian. 

In a report by VCPost, recent missile strikes by Iran and Israel have already contributed to a rise in oil prices and increased fuel costs for consumers. While the World Bank initially forecasted an average crude price of $84 a barrel for the year, it acknowledged that this projection might prove overly optimistic in the face of worsening crises. 

According to the bank's latest commodity markets report, a moderate conflict-related supply disruption could see Brent crude prices rise to $92 a barrel this year, while a more severe disruption could push oil prices beyond $100 a barrel, consequently elevating global inflation by nearly one percentage point. 

This warning comes amidst concerns that a major energy shock could disrupt progress in reducing inflation over the past years and keep interest rates higher than expected. 

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World Bank On The Effect of High Oil Prices

The World Bank also cited potential repercussions beyond oil prices, including increased costs of natural gas, fertilizers, and food, as well as upward pressure on key metal prices driven by investments in green technologies.

Ultimately, inflationary pressures would mount as production costs across industries surged, driving up prices for goods and services. This inflationary squeeze would strain businesses, particularly those heavily reliant on oil for operations, potentially leading to reduced profitability and workforce downsizing. 

Consumers would feel the pinch as higher fuel costs consume disposable income, curbing spending on non-essential items and services. 

Developing nations, already vulnerable due to their reliance on imported oil, would face even greater economic hardships, potentially impeding progress and worsening social inequalities. 

What governments can prepare for is to see high oil prices as a way to catalyze investments in renewable energy and spur innovation in clean technologies.

READ MORE: Oil Prices Remain Nearly Unchanged as Market Ponders on Chinese Demand, North America Supply Rises

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