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Commodities

Oil rises as supply concerns outweigh reduced demand, recession risks

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil tankers are seen at a terminal of Sinopec Yaogang oil depot in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

By Laura Sanicola

(Reuters) -Oil prices rose on Thursday, reversing earlier losses, as supply concerns and geopolitical tension in Europe got the upper hand over the economic fears dogging financial markets as inflation soars.

Brent crude rose 46 cents, or 0.4%, to $107.97 a barrel by 11:44 a.m. EDT (1644 GMT). WTI crude rose $1.14, or 1.1 %, to $106.85.

“The trading has been thin and nobody knows what’s going to move the needle,” said John Kilduff, partner at Agan Capital LLC in Galena, illinois.

A pending European Union ban on oil from Russia, a key supplier of crude and fuels to the bloc, is anticipated to further tighten global supplies.

The EU is still haggling over details of the Russian embargo, which needs unanimous support. However, a vote has been delayed as Hungary opposes the ban because it would be too disruptive to its economy.

More broadly, oil prices and financial markets have been under pressure this week amid jitters over rising interest rates, the strongest U.S. dollar in two decades, concerns over inflation and possible recession.

Prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns in the world’s top crude importer, China, have also impacted the market.

“The current and expected sanctions on Russian oil have received a major counter in the form of reduced demand and increased (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) supplies,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illnois.

U.S. headline CPI for the 12 months to April jumped 8.3%, fueling concerns about bigger interest rate hikes, and their impact on economic growth.

“Soaring pump prices and slowing economic growth are expected to significantly curb the demand recovery through the remainder of the year and into 2023,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday in its monthly report.

“Extended lockdowns across China … are driving a significant slowdown in the world’s second largest oil consumer,” the agency added.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2022 for a second straight month, citing the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and the resurgence of the Omicron coronavirus variant in China.

On Wednesday, oil prices jumped 5% after Russia sanctioned 31 companies based in countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow following the Ukraine invasion.

That created unease in the market at the same time that Russian natural gas flows to Europe via Ukraine fell by a quarter. It was the first time exports via Ukraine have been disrupted since the invasion.

Commodities

Oil prices open lower as EU struggles to seal Russia import ban

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas deposit in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, Argentina, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

By Laura Sanicola

(Reuters) – Oil prices opened lower in early Asian trade on Tuesday after the European Union’s efforts to enact a ban on Russian oil imports, a move that would tighten global supply, ran into resistance from member country Hungary.

Brent crude futures fell 35 cents, or 0.3%, to $113.89 a barrel at 0004 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 52 cents, or 0.5%, to $113.68 a barrel.

EU foreign ministers failed on Monday in their effort to pressure Budapest to lift its veto of a proposed oil embargo on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. An embargo would require approval from all EU nations.

On the demand side, data from China showed the world’s second-biggest economy processed 11% less crude oil in April than a year earlier amid tight COVID-19 lockdowns, with daily throughput falling to the lowest since March 2020 as refiners slashed operations on weaker consumption.

While Chinese demand drops, in the United States producers are ramping up in order replenish inventories that have dwindled in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine – which Moscow calls “a special military operation” – and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Oil output in the Permian in Texas and New Mexico, the biggest U.S. shale oil basin, is due to rise 88,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a record 5.219 million bpd in June, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its productivity report on Monday.

Inventories in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell to 538 million barrels, the lowest since 1987, data from the U.S. Department of Energy showed on Monday.

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Commodities

Oil settles higher on demand optimism, gasoline strength

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows an Idemitsu Kosan Co. oil facility in Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan November 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Laura Sanicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices rose on Monday on optimism that China would see significant demand recovery after positive signs that the country’s coronavirus pandemic was receding in the hardest-hit areas.

Brent crude futures for July delivery rose $2.69 to settle at $114.24 a barrel, a 2.4% gain, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $3.71, or 3.4%, to $114.20 a barrel.

Shanghai aims to reopen broadly and allow normal life to resume for the city’s 25 million people from June 1, a city official said on Monday, after declaring that 15 of its 16 districts had eliminated cases outside quarantine areas.

However, it is estimated that 46 cities in China are under lockdowns, hitting shopping, factory output and energy usage.

“We are seeing a lot of signals that demand will start returning in that region, supporting higher prices,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

In line with an unexpected sharp fall in industrial output in April, China processed 11% less crude oil, with daily throughput the lowest since March 2020.

U.S. gasoline futures set an all-time high again on Monday as falling stockpiles fuelled supply concerns. [EIA/S]

Stockpiles in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell to 538 million barrels, the lowest since 1987, data from the U.S. Department of Energy showed on Monday.

“Record high gasoline pricing has shown no sign of spurring demand destruction with the U.S. economy appearing sufficiently strong to drive a robust kickoff to the heavy driving season in just a couple of weeks,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.

Oil prices also found some support as the European Union’s diplomats and officials expressed optimism about reaching a deal on a phased embargo of Russian oil despite concerns about supply in eastern Europe.

However, EU foreign ministers failed on Monday in their effort to pressure Hungary to lift its veto of the proposed oil embargo, with Lithuania saying the bloc was being “held hostage by one member state”.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the bloc would need a few more days to find agreement.

“With a planned ban by the EU on Russian oil and slow increase in OPEC output, oil prices are expected to stay close to the current levels near $110 a barrel,” said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at Market Risk Advisory.

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Commodities

Moscow says G7 attempts to isolate Russia make global food crisis worse

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ears of wheat are seen in a field near the village of Zhovtneve, Ukraine, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

(Reuters) – Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that attempts by the West and the G7 group of nations in particular to isolate Moscow have worsened global food shortages.

G7 foreign ministers promised on Saturday to reinforce Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease food shortages stemming from Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbour.

“Attempts to divert Russia economically, financially and logistically from long-standing channels of international cooperation are only exacerbating economic and food crises,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

“It should be noted that it was the unilateral actions of Western countries, primarily from the Group of Seven, that exacerbated the problem of breaking the logistics and financial chains of food supplies to world markets.”

Before the war Ukraine and Russia combined accounted for about 29% of wheat production for the world market.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

(Reporting in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; editing by Grant McCool)

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