Crude Brent oil prices today exceeded $89 a barrel for the first time since December 2022
March Brent crude oil contracts are priced at $89.01 a barrel, data from the Intercontinental Exchange ICE show. This is 1.56% higher than the price at the close of trading on January 22. Crude Brent oil prices today exceeded the threshold of $89 for the first time since December 1, 2022.
Brent oil price forecast
The price of Brent was about $86.94 per barrel at its low on January 23. March WTI crude oil price rose 0.65% to $82.17 per barrel as of 19:58 Moscow time.
Oil has been rising in price for the third session in a row, said Oleg Syrovatkin, a leading analyst at the global research department of Otkritie Investments. Prices are supported by the prospects of strengthening of demand from China, concerns about possible reduction of supplies from Russia, and the weakening of the dollar against the currencies of G10.In this case the volume of trades is low today because of the celebration of the Lunar New Year in China, the expert points out.
Oil prices have shifted upward after a weak start at the beginning of 2023 as China, the largest consumer of fuel, announced the cancellation of the policy of “zero covid” and increased import quotas, causing analysts to expect an increase in demand, writes Bloomberg. Also, they expect prices to rise because of a possible softening of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy of raising interest rates.
Against this backdrop, Russian oil exports by sea declined last week, the agency wrote. Also, the $60 a barrel price ceiling on Russian oil, introduced last December, is still in effect. It is applied to Russian oil delivered by sea. Starting from February 5, it is planned to introduce a price ceiling on supplies of oil products of Russian origin, but its level has not been agreed upon yet.
Earlier, we reported that global demand for oil will reach a record level in 2023.
Two oil tankers attacked by indigenous protesters in Peru’s Amazon
A group of indigenous protesters in Peru’s remote Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) region attacked two oil tankers with gasoline bombs apparently because they are angry about changes by the government to social oil funds, the operator of the vessels said on Wednesday.
A dozen crew members from both tankers, one of which contained 40,000 barrels of crude, were also kidnapped by the assailants, according to a statement from Canada-based PetroTal.
PetroTal accused protesters affiliated with indigenous association Aidecobap of blocking an Amazon tributary preventing the passage of the two oil tankers, one of which was empty, while attacking them from canoes with gasoline bombs.
Aidecobap representatives were not immediately available for comment.
The attack occurred on Tuesday by an Amazon tributary in the Loreto region in northwest Peru, PetroTal said, with the oil originating from the country’s most productive field.
The two vessels, one operating under a Brazilian flag, were traveling along the Amazon to Brazil from PetroTal’s field in sparsely-populated Loreto, according to the company.
Carlos Maldonado, PetroTal’s social management manager, told local television that the protesters who boarded the tanker loaded with oil forced it to a town known as 7 de Julio, where it is currently being held.
Peru, which pumps about 43,000 barrels of crude daily, is one of Latin America’s smaller oil producers.
PetroTal has experienced past attacks from indigenous groups, many of which demand more benefits from oil exploitation and complain about oil spills contaminating the area.
The company said it gives 2.5% of profits from its local production to nearby communities.
Global gas prices could fall 50% on “resilient supply”
Global gas prices could fall as much as 50% year-on-year as weak demand and resilient supply force European and Asian markets for the fuel to experience the sort of downside already present in U.S. natural gas, analyst at Citigroup (NYSE:C) said in a note issued Wednesday.
“Supply is resilient: global oil and U.S. natural gas production is still climbing while remaining flat for global LNG,” Citi’s analysts said, referring to liquefied natural gas.
“While oil prices could be range-bound between $72 and $90/bbl even with the latest Saudi production cut, global natural gas and coal prices have more downside,” they added.
The Citi note said its base case for the third quarter was gas on the U.S. Henry Hub averaging $2.20 per million metric British thermal units; $3.80 on Dutch exchange TTF and $4.80 for the JKM marker for Japan and Korea.
“For TTF and JKM, that would be ~50% below current forwards,” said Citi, projecting levels for the two that could match Henry Hub prices, which are already down nearly 50% on the year.
Gold treads water amid Fed uncertainty, copper extends rebound
Gold prices moved little on Wednesday as markets hunkered down ahead of an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, while copper prices extended a rebound from six-month lows.
The yellow metal saw some support this week as weak U.S. economic data pulled down the dollar and spurred some bets that the Fed will lack the headroom to keep raising interest rates.
But this support was limited as the dollar recovered amid uncertainty over the Fed’s next move. While some facets of the U.S. economy appeared to be cooling, inflation and the labor market were still running hot, putting more pressure on the central bank to tighten policy.
Even if the Fed pauses its current rate hike cycle, it is expected to keep interest rates higher for longer – a scenario that bodes poorly for non-yielding assets such as gold.
Fed Fund futures prices show that markets are pricing in a nearly 82% chance the Fed will hold rates steady next week.
Spot gold was flat at $1,963.51 an ounce, while gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,979.65 an ounce by 20:03 ET (00:03 GMT). Both instruments moved little in the prior session, after recovering from more than two-month lows hit last month.
The yellow metal has seen limited safe haven demand over the past month, even as a string of weak data releases battered appetite for risk-driven assets. But a U.S. and European recession this year may eventually spruce up gold demand.
Economic indicators from other major economies are on tap this week, starting with first quarter GDP data from Australia and Japan. Chinese trade and inflation data is also due this week.
Other precious metals rose slightly on Wednesday. Platinum futures rose 0.3%, extending a recovery from near two-month lows, while silver futures rose 0.1%.
Among industrial metals, copper prices continued to push higher after reaching an apparent bottom of six-month lows in May. The red metal was also encouraged by some positive economic data from China.
Copper futures rose 0.2% to $3.7757 a pound, after adding more than 1% in the prior session.
Focus is now squarely on Chinese trade data due later in the day, for more cues on commodity demand in the world’s largest copper importer. Chinese commodity imports had slumped in April as a post-COVID economic recovery ran out of steam, which in turn fueled doubts over strong commodity demand this year.
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