Oil prices today (Friday) moved higher following yesterday's FOMC minutes release and the ongoing Syrian conflict. Today's rise puts oil prices on track for the biggest weekly gain in more than six years.
At 9:40 a.m., WTI crude oil prices were up 1.2% to $50.04 a barrel, it's highest level in two months. The U.S. benchmark has soared 9.9% this week and could see its largest weekly rise since 2009.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is the oil price benchmark for the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI is considered "sweet" crude because it contains 0.24% sulfur.
Brent Crude Oil Prices Today
Brent crude oil prices today gained less than their U.S. counterpart. They were up 0.02% and trading at $53.39 a barrel. The international benchmark is up 9.4% this week and 8.8% this month.
Brent crude is the international price benchmark. It's considered "light" crude because of its low density and sulfur content.
Here's why oil prices are surging to a six-year high…
Two Reasons Why Oil Prices Today Are Climbing
The boost in oil prices today came after the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes from last month's meeting. The FOMC meeting minutes showed that the majority of policymakers agreed to keep interest rates near zero. Chairwoman Janet Yellen cited a global economic slowdown, low U.S. inflation, and market volatility as reasons for not hiking rates.
"With a slowdown in both the U.S. and the global scene, the U.S. Federal Reserve seems to be growing more dovish," said Daniel Ang, analyst at Phillip Futures, to The Wall Street Journal. "Oil prices gain support as a result of a weaker U.S. dollar strength as this makes USD-denoted oil cheaper."
Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war has also supported oil prices. On Wednesday, Russia launched military airstrikes against rebels trying to oust Syrian President Assad. The conflict interrupts oil transports in the region, which increases global demand.