Oil falls on Russia-Ukraine peace talk hopes, China’s fuel demand fears following covid shutdown

US crude futures fell on Tuesday, extending losses from the previous day as Ukraine and Russia headed for peace talks and on fears of a drop in fuel demand in China after the financial hub of Shanghai shut down to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Brent crude futures were trading down $1.07, or 1.0per cent, at $111.41 a barrel at 0107 GMT, having dipped as low as $109.97.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures hit a low of $103.46 in an early trade and were down 79 cents, or 0.8per cent, at $105.17. Both benchmark contracts lost around 7per cent on Monday.

Ukraine and Russia were set to meet in Istanbul on Tuesday for their first peace talks in over two weeks. Sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine have curtailed oil supply and earlier this month sent prices to 14-year highs.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to disarm its neighbour.

“Oil prices are under pressure again on expectations for a peace talk between Ukraine and Russia, which could lead to an easing of sanctions or avoidance on Russian oil by the West,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities in TOKYO.

“A successful ceasefire could also raise the prospect of reviving an Iranian nuclear deal,” he added.

Offsetting concerns about tight supply, Shanghai’s two-stage lockdown over nine days is expected to hit fuel demand in China, the world’s largest oil importer. The country’s financial hub accounts for about 4per cent of China’s oil consumption, ANZ Research analysts said.

The market is also waiting on a planned meeting on Thursday by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, collectively known as OPEC+.

The group will likely stick to plans for a modest increase in oil output in May, several sources close to the group said, despite a surge in prices due to the Ukraine crisis and calls from the United States and other consumers for more supply.

Worldwide demand has risen to nearly pre-pandemic levels, but supply has been hindered, as OPEC+ has been slow to restore supply cuts enacted during the pandemic in 2020.


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