Oil Prices Stable as Traders Assess China’s Pledge and Disruption in Libya

Oil Prices Stable as Traders Assess China's Pledge and Disruption in Libya

As China promises to remedy the economic harm caused by a series of lockdowns to battle the spread of Covid-19, petroleum shipments from Libya were hindered, oil prices have stabilised.

After a four-day gaining streak, global benchmark Brent was slightly changed around $113 a barrel. The pandemic’s impact on China’s economy will be temporary, and normalcy will be “rapidly restored” once the epidemic is stopped, according to a spokeswoman for the country’s top economic planner on Tuesday, a day after the central bank took steps to help consumers and small enterprises.

Libya’s oil output has dropped by more than half a million barrels per day, with additional losses possible as a wave of political protests sweeps the OPEC nation. As demonstrations increased, the Sharara field in the west of the nation, which can pump 300,000 barrels per day, was shut down.

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have risen by more than 45 percent this year, upending an already tight market. The issue is rerouting global petroleum flows, with the United States and the United Kingdom attempting to prohibit Russian barrel imports, while some Asian purchasers are taking on extra shipments. At the same time as the conflict grinds on, the European Union is under increasing pressure to reduce its imports.

“The oil market is paying attention to the demand effect of China’s lockdowns and Libya’s outages,” said Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights. “However, the possibility of the EU gradually phaseing out Russian oil imports is the main driver of attitude.”

Prices according to recent data:

“Brent for June settlement increased 0.1 percent to $113.30 a barrel at 6:28 a.m. in London on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was 0.2 percent lower at $108.04 a barrel.

As Covid-19 erupted in Asia’s largest economy, Beijing imposed strict curfews in major cities, including Shanghai, the commercial capital. As mobility declines and industrial output slows, this has put a strain on energy use.

Oil markets have remained backwardated, a bullish trend in which short-term prices trade higher than longer-term prices. In backwardation, Brent’s prompt spread — the gap between its two nearest futures contracts — was $1.32 a barrel, up from 42 cents a week earlier.

This year’s jump in oil prices spurred US President Joe Biden to order the release of millions of barrels from emergency stockpiles. Following the move, a cargo of crude from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve departed a Texas port bound for Europe as some local refiners shun Russian supplies.

The recent gains in crude as well as other commodities are fanning inflation, prompting central banks to tighten policy. On Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the US central bank shouldn’t rule out rate increases of 75 basis points.


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