That came a day after Russia said peace talks with Ukraine are “at a dead end.” The world’s top independent oil trader — Vitol Group — intends to stop trading Russian-origin crude and products by the end of this year.
Even before the war, the oil market was robust as the recovery in demand from Covid-19 helped to drain inventories. With the war in Europe rippling through global markets and fanning inflation, governments recently announced plans to tap strategic oil stockpiles.
“The market does look more balanced, but we have to remember that oil demand continues to grow this year,” given the recovery from Covid-19, Toril Bosoni, head of the IEA’s oil market division said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “With all the uncertainty on both the demand and the supply side, the SPR releases go some way to create comfort for the market.”
- WTI for May rose 0.4% to $101.01 a barrel at 10:17 a.m. in London.
- Brent for June settlement was up 0.5% to $105.14.
For now, the market’s focus is squarely on developments in Russian production and Chinese demand. While there are no signs Russian exports are starting to crumble just yet, Indian refiners are among the few remaining buyers. However, they aren’t seeing the record discounts being offered in Europe.
Separately, the American Petroleum Institute reported U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 7.76 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the data. Gasoline inventories shrunk by 5.05 million barrels, the API said. The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release official data later Wednesday.