London October 21 2023: Oil prices settled lower on Friday after the Islamist group Hamas released two U.S. hostages from Gaza, leading to hopes the Israeli-Palestinian crisis could de-escalate without engulfing the rest of the Middle East region and disrupting oil supplies.
Brent crude futures fell 22 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $92.16 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for November delivery , which expired after settlement on Friday, fell 62 cents, or 0.7%, to $88.75 a barrel. The more-active December WTI contract closed 29 cents lower at $88.08 a barrel.
Hamas' armed wing released two U.S. hostages from Gaza - a mother and her daughter - "for humanitarian reasons" in response to Qatari mediation efforts in the war with Israel, its spokesman Abu Ubaida said on Friday.
"The report took some of the risk premium out of the market," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group. "The market went from starting the day with little hope and went to possible signs that there may be some way out of this crisis."
UBS expects Brent prices to trade in the $90 to $100 a barrel range over the coming sessions, Staunovo added.
Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions by 56,850 contracts to 183,351 in the week to Oct. 17, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.