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Feb. 12, 2021, 2:43 p.m. EST

Oil futures end higher as Middle East tensions raise stability concerns

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By Myra P. Saefong

Oil futures settled higher on Friday on news of rising tensions between the Iran-backed Houthis political group in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Reuters reported that the Houthis' military spokesman tweeted that the Houthis' air force hit an airport and air base in Saudi Arabia with drones. Also on Friday, the Biden administration revoked the State Department's terrorist designations of the Houthi rebels, according to The Washington Times . "As the Biden administration no longer considers the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization, this action diminishes U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia," said Manish Raj, chief financial officer at Velandera Energy. "Since the Saudis have been instrumental in balancing global oil trade in the recent times, there is a fear that they may be less motivated to balance oil markets in the future." March West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.23, or 2.1%, to settle at $59.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, front-month prices gained roughly 4.7%, according to FactSet data.

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