Oil rises 3% on supply threats

Still set for weekly drop on demand fears, rate hikes

REUTERS September 10, 2022
Oil and gas tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at a port in Zhuhai, China October 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS


Oil prices rose over 3% on Friday supported by real and threatened cuts to supply, although futures were set for a second weekly decline as aggressive interest rate hikes and China’s Covid-19 curbs weighed on the demand outlook.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to halt oil and gas exports to Europe if price caps are imposed and a small cut to OPEC+ oil output plans announced this week also supported prices.

Brent crude rose $3.30, or 3.7%, to $92.45 a barrel by 1721 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $3.11, or 3.7%, to $86.65 a barrel. “Over the coming months, the West will have to contend with the risk of losing Russian energy supplies and oil prices soaring,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Pressured by worries about a recession and demand, Brent is down sharply from a surge in March close to its all-time high of $147 after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Despite Friday’s bounce, both crude benchmarks were headed for a weekly drop, with Brent down about 0.6% on the week after at one point hitting its lowest since January. WTI was on track for a weekly decline of 0.3%.

If the US Federal Reserve is able to keep the unemployment rate below 5%, it can be aggressive on bringing down inflation but after that trade-offs will appear, Fed Governor Christopher Waller said on Friday.

The Fed should be aggressive with rate hikes while the economy “can take a punch,” he said.

A US Department of Energy official said the White House was not considering new releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at this time beyond the 180 million barrels that President Joe Biden announced months ago. Earlier, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Reuters the administration was weighing the need for further SPR releases. “The White House is backing off another release from the SPR,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group. “Looks like a lot of the fears the market had previously have gone away.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2022.

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