Sunday, September 24, 2023

Oil Prices Edge Up as Russia Fuel Export Ban Stokes Supply Fears

Oil Prices Edge Up as Russia Fuel Export Ban Stokes Supply Fears 

LONDON—Oil prices rose on Friday as renewed global supply concerns from Russia's fuel export ban counteracted demand fears driven by macroeconomic headwinds and high interest rates.

Brent futures were up 52 cents, or 0.56 percent, at $93.82 a barrel by 0933 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) futures rose by 73 cents, or 0.81 percent, to $90.36 a barrel.

Both benchmarks were on track for a small weekly drop after gaining more than 10 percent in the previous three weeks amid concerns about tight global supply as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) maintain production cuts.

"Trading remained choppy amid a tug-of-war between supply fears that were reinforced by a Russian ban on fuel exports and worries over slower demand due to tighter monetary policies in the United States and Europe," said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co. Ltd.

Russia's Transneft suspended deliveries of diesel to the key Baltic and Black Sea terminals of Primorsk and Novorossiysk on Friday, state media agency Tass said.

Russia temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel to all countries outside a circle of four ex-Soviet states with immediate effect to stabilize the domestic fuel market, the government said on Thursday.

But macroeconomic headwinds continue to weigh on oil demand sentiment.

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"It is signals on the demand side that are mainly likely to affect oil prices in the short term," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

The eurozone economy is likely to contract in the third quarter, according to Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data released on Friday.

A contraction in UK economic activity deepened further in September compared to August, additional PMI data showed.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday maintained interest rates, but stiffened its hawkish stance, buoying fears that higher rates could dampen economic growth.

HSBC on Friday raised its Brent price forecast to $90 a barrel for the fourth quarter and $82.50 for 2024 due to record Chinese demand and a prediction that Saudi Arabia's voluntary production cuts will stay in place until the second quarter of 2024.

By Robert Harvey

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