. The tensions in the Middle East, while concerning, have had little direct effect on oil markets. For now, prices are still influenced primarily by supply and demand, and with inventory levels continuing to increase, downward pressure on prices is expected to continue. Demand is also declining due to soft economic growth and the emergence of alternatives such as electric and natural gas-powered vehicles. Looking ahead, experts don’t anticipate the Israel-Hamas conflict affecting the already weak demand and ample supply in the global oil market. That means prices are unlikely to see much volatility in the short-term.