Markets live, Tuesday April 5, 2022

Oil advanced for a second day as the U.S. and Europe prepared to impose a fresh wave of sanctions on Russia for alleged atrocities committed by its forces against civilians in Ukraine.

West Texas Intermediate pushed to near $US105 a barrel in early Asian trading after closing 4 per cent higher on Monday, the biggest gain in two weeks. Washington will announce additional measures this week, according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who said these may include further curbs on energy.

Oil rallied to the highest level since 2008 in the first quarter as Russia’s invasion disrupted supplies in an already tight market faced with roaring demand and dwindling stockpiles. The U.S. and U.K. have already moved to bar Russian oil and there’s gathering momentum for some form of similar action from the European Union, although its dependence on flows is higher.

Oil price hikes have caught investors’ attention in recent weeks.

Oil price hikes have caught investors’ attention in recent weeks.Credit:Getty

The possibility of new sanctions is offsetting the impact in the global crude market of a vast release by the U.S. from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves in a bid to tame prices, ease the burden on consumers, and peg back inflation. Other countries have said that they’ll also make oil releases.

With the war in its second month, European policy makers are facing greater pressure to impose a heavier burden on Moscow. French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU will discuss possible sanctions on oil, while German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said all economic ties with Moscow must be severed.

Oil futures remain in backwardation, a bullish pattern marked by near-term prices above longer-dated ones. Brent’s prompt spread – the gap between its two nearest contracts – was $US1.65 a barrel, up from $US1.53 on Monday.

Goldman Sachs said the market likely had a deficit of 1.5 million barrels a day in recent weeks, with inventories at the lowest in recent history on a demand-adjusted basis. The most compelling short-term opportunities were in distillates such as diesel and jet fuel, it said in an April 3 note.

Many western companies aren’t taking Russian crude, although discounted exports are going to buyers in Asia including China and India. On Monday, commodity trader Trafigura Group offered to sell a cargo of Russia’s Urals grade at a record discount but there were no bids for the shipment.


Read More: Markets live, Tuesday April 5, 2022

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