West TX Oil at $54.50 as Yemen Bombing Continues

Oil prices extended gains on Thursday as renewed fighting in Yemen brought focus back on potential supply disruptions in the Middle East.  Saudi-led coalition warplanes continued bombing Yemen on Wednesday despite an announcement by Riyadh that it was ending its campaign of air strikes.

While Yemen itself is not among the biggest oil producers in the region, Gulf producers ship oil along the Gulf of Aden on Yemen’s southern coast and through the narrow straits of Bab el-Mandeb, between Yemen and Djibouti.  Oil prices have risen as much as $10 this month due to supply concerns in the region as well as signs of stronger global demand.

Brent crude for June delivery LCOc1 was up 32 cents at $63.05 a barrel by 0153 GMT, after settling 65 cents higher.  U.S. crude for June delivery CLc1 was trading 35 cents higher as $56.51 a barrel. The contract had closed 45 cents lower in the previous session.