Oil gains on potential OPEC+ cuts

Higher-for-longer rates could dampen economic growth, suppress demand for oil

REUTERS February 29, 2024


Oil prices rose marginally on Wednesday as the prospect of delays to US interest rate cuts and a higher-than expected rise in US crude stocks offset support from a potential extension to OPEC+ supply cuts.

Brent crude futures edged up 14 cents to $83.79 a barrel by 1550 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate futures (WTI) gained 6 cents to reach $78.93. Both benchmarks had fallen $1 in earlier trading.

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The early dips in prices were due to profit-taking plus a combined response to a reported surge in US crude stocks by the American Petroleum Institute this week and continuing hopes for a Gaza ceasefire deal in coming days, said Vandana Hari, founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda Insights.

US crude inventories rose by 4.2 million barrels last week, surpassing expectations of a 2.74 million barrel build, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman had signalled on Tuesday that she was in no rush to cut US interest rates, particularly given continuing inflation risks. Higher-for-longer rates could dampen economic growth and suppress demand for oil.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2024.

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