Commodities News

Oil Down as Ukraine Conflict Talks Continue, COVID Cases Rise in China

By Gina Lee – Oil was down on Tuesday morning in Asia, sliding to a two-week low. Talks between Ukraine and Russia to end the conflict between the two countries continues, while lockdowns in China in response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak there triggered fuel demand concerns.

Brent oil futures tumbled 4.09% to $102.54 by 11:42 PM ET (3:42 AM GMT) and WTI futures fell 4.05% to $98.84.

“Expectations of positive developments in the Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks bolstered hopes to ease tightness in the global crude market,” Fujitomi Securities Co. Ltd. analyst Toshitaka Tazawa told Reuters.

“Fresh lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in China also raised concerns over slower demand,” he added.

Efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine triggered by the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 continue. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that negotiations with Russia will continue Tuesday. He added that he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as part of a negotiation effort to end the war with Russia “with a fair peace.”

The U.S. also warned China after “intense” talks on Monday against helping Russia in the invasion.

With Russia being the world’s second-largest crude exporter, supply issues continue to persist as the conflict continues.

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol on Monday urged oil-producing countries to pump more to stabilize markets. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also attempt to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil output and is reportedly planning a visit.

Meanwhile, the number of daily cases continued to rise in China on Tuesday, with new symptomatic cases more than doubling from a day earlier to a two-year high. Jilin province was placed under lockdown alongside the southern city of Shenzhen as the virus spreads rapidly in the country’s northeast.

Investors now await U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

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