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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Oil soars as Beijing eases pandemic restrictions, OPEC warns of supply risks

EconomyOil soars as Beijing eases pandemic restrictions, OPEC warns of supply risks

New York (Times Of Ocean)- Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday amid easing demand fears after China relaxed strict lockdown measures and OPEC warned that Russian oil being banned completely could severely affect supply.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $101.28 per barrel at 0716 GMT, up 2.84% from its previous close of $98.48.

At the same time, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $96.88 per barrel, up 2.74% from the previous session’s close of $94.29 per barrel.

On Monday, China ended a 14-day citywide lockdown in Shanghai. In areas where no cases had been reported for 14 days, residents could leave their homes under a three-tier system of disease control.

The upward price trend was supported by expectations that demand would return to normal in China’s most populous city of 28 million people.

Since the tensions between Russia and Ukraine began on Feb. 24, European countries have considered banning Russian oil and gas exports. However, Europe’s high reliance on Russian fossil fuels has made the decision difficult for most members of the bloc.

Lithuania has become the first country to abandon its use of Russian gas after the EU agreed to ban Russian coal.

Canada, Britain, Australia, and the United States all prohibit the purchase of Russian oil. The EU has not yet agreed on an embargo, and Germany has warned against making a hasty decision that could put the economy into recession. Some, such as Hungary, oppose it.

OPEC secretary general Mohammad Barkindo said in a meeting with EU officials that current and future sanctions against Russia could lead to one of the worst oil supply shocks ever, leaving an impossible supply deficit.

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced plans to release a second batch of oil from member countries’ emergency reserves.

The IEA announced on March 1 a plan to release about 62.7 million barrels which was followed on Thursday by a release of 120 million barrels.

The US provided the majority of both releases. Joe Biden also announced earlier in April that 180 million barrels, or 1 million barrels per day for six months, would be released to lower prices at the pump and ease the pain felt by American families.

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