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World Bank warns Israel-Hamas conflict could lead to oil price spike

The war between Israel and Hamas could trigger price shocks for raw materials such as oil and agriculture products if the conflict escalates across the…

The war between Israel and Hamas could trigger price shocks for raw materials such as oil and agriculture products if the conflict escalates across the Middle East, the World Bank warned in a report Monday.

Oil has already risen six per cent since the latest round of fighting, sparked when Hamas militants from Gaza stormed southern Israel and killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seized nearly 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has responded with an unrelenting bombardment of Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 8,000 people, nearly half of them children.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas comes as Russia’s war in Ukraine has already put pressure on markets, with that war being “the biggest shock to commodity markets since the 1970s,” warned World Bank chief economist Indermit Gill.

“That had disruptive effects on the global economy that persist to this day,” Gill said in a statement.

“Policymakers will need to be vigilant. If the conflict were to escalate, the global economy would face a dual energy shock for the first time in decades” from both the war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, he said.

Many potential price hikes will depend on what happens to world oil prices and exports, the World Bank said.

In an optimistic scenario, oil could rise 3-13 per cent, between $93 and $102 per barrel.

A median scenario envisages prices rising up to $121, while a worst-case scenario would see oil reach a peak of between $140 and $157 – potentially exceeding all-time highs not seen since 2008.

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