Crude has endured a bumpy year, whipsawed by concerns over further interest rate hikes from the Fed and a bullish outlook for Chinese demand following the end of Covid Zero.
However, the world’s top oil importer has set a cautious economic growth target this year, denting some optimism in the outlook. Its crude imports eased at the start of the year as refiners slowed purchases before the Lunar New Year holiday, government data released Tuesday show.
“Volatility is on the floor, the market’s pretty dead,” said Keshav Lohiya, founder of consultant Oilytics Ltd. “The question is will the buying ramp up in the second half of the year.”
- WTI for April delivery slipped 0.2% to $80.31 a barrel by 10:42 a.m. in London.
- WTI implied volatility on Monday fell to the lowest since October 2021
- Brent for May settlement eased by 0.2% to $86 a barrel.
- Both benchmarks settled above their 100-day moving averages on Monday
Traders are also tracking Russian energy flows following sanctions over the nation’s war in Ukraine. Russia’s seaborne crude exports fell sharply last week from previous highs as shipments from its Pacific ports declined, vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Kazakhstan is struggling to find ample crude supplies to meet requests from European countries that are seeking to curb their dealings with Russia. Germany is expected to receive about 40,000 tons of piped deliveries this quarter, state oil pipeline operator KazTransOil said. That’s about 90% of the original planned volume.