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18 Mar 2022

Oil Soars amid Slowing Progress in Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks

The Index Today

Oil prices rose on Friday, extending their gains amid slowing progress in the diplomatic talks between the warring nations of Russia and Ukraine that have been triggering volatility in the markets of late.

According to Reuters, Brent crude climbed 2.6% to $109.39 a barrel at 0405 GMT. This comes after it soared to 9% on Thursday — its largest gain since mid-2020. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures also edged higher by 2.9% to $105.91 per barrel, advancing an 8% surge on Thursday.

After hitting 14-year highs recently, oil prices have since dropped with both Brent and WTI contracts set to end the week lower by nearly 3%. Justin Smirk, a Senior Economist at Westpac Sydney said, "I'm still expecting more volatility. There's a lot of uncertainty out there still."

The U.S. is also facing a supply crunch after banning the imports of Russian oil that has been further stalled by slowing nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in China. However, RBC Capital Analyst Helima Croft contended, "U.S. Secretary of State Blinken is reportedly preparing to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia later this month and the oil ask will presumably be close to the top of the agenda."

©Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

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