The recent upsurge in Houthi and Hezbollah attacks on ships in the Red Sea has prompted the world's two largest container shipping lines, Moller-Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, to halt transit.

Subsequently, two oil majors have insisted on adding a clause to their contracts allowing them to divert their vessels through Africa if they deem the waters near Yemen unsafe.

Now, most of the major shipping lines, responsible for more than 60% of the world's container transport, have given up using the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and the Suez Canal, respectively.

What will be the result of all this?

Locally, this could turn into an economic disaster for Egypt. Thirty percent of the world's container traffic passes through the Suez Canal, generating some $10 billion a year in tolls for Egypt.

In addition, the conflict in the neighboring Gaza Strip threatens to disrupt tourist stocks and natural gas imports. As a result, prices will rise in the country, while people's incomes will fall.

In the long term, this could lead to social unrest.

On a larger scale, it could lead to widespread trade disruption and increased logistics costs, triggering another round of price hikes and forcing central banks to delay changes in monetary policy.

What do countries plan to do in response?

No one wants to jeopardize the progress made in the fight against inflation. So, it is no surprise that the United States has officially announced the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian to ensure safe navigation in the Red Sea.

To achieve this, an international naval coalition comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Seychelles, and Bahrain has formed.

These ships will escort merchant ships and protect them from Houthi attacks.

In response to his U.S. counterpart Austin's announcement of the launch of an operation, Yemen's Defense Minister Al-Atifi declared, "We will turn the Red Sea into your graveyard."

What next?

The Houthis will continue to send drones and rockets. These drones and missiles will be successfully intercepted 99% of the time. However, unfortunately, 1% of the time, the targets will still be hit.

Further down the road, this could become a new trigger for the continuation of the bloody conflict. And there is a possibility that, again against its will, Iran will sooner or later be drawn into it.

What should an investor do?

Usually, when the geopolitical situation worsens, gold (XAUUSD) tends to benefit. Oil could also have seen a significant rise, but the markets see no real reason to do so for now.

Yes, some 7 million barrels of oil pass daily through the Red Sea from north to south and vice versa. If logistics were to change for a long time, spot prices could rise by $3 to $4 per barrel.

The good news is that there is still capacity to reroute shipments, so Goldman Sachs analysts do not expect the situation in the Red Sea to have much influence on oil prices.