Reuters


LONDON – Oil prices fell on Friday after rising 10% in the session as the coronavirus epidemic knocked the outlook for demand and Moscow rejected an intervention by U.S. President Donald Trump in Russia’s price war with Saudi Arabia.

Oil falls back as Russia rejects Trump's intervention in price war-oil and gas 360

Source: Reuters

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 32 cents, or 1.1%, at $28.15 a barrel by 1331 GMT.

Brent is on track for a weekly loss of more than 16% and its fourth consecutive weekly decline.

U.S. crude futures for April CLc1 fell 72 cents, or 2.8%, to $24.50. The front-month contract expires on Friday. The more active U.S. crude contract for May CLc2 was down 70 cents, or 2.7%, at $25.21.

“The world is awash with oil… Simply put, oil is facing a prolonged period of demand destruction,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Brent and U.S. crude have both collapsed about 40% in the past two weeks weighed by the spread of the virus and the collapse of coordinated output cuts by producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and others including Russia.

Trump said on Thursday that he would act on the price war at the appropriate time, saying low gasoline prices were good for U.S. consumers even though they are hurting the industry.

“At the appropriate time I’ll get involved,” Trump said.

“The low prices are threatening to hit the U.S. shale oil industry hard, thereby jeopardizing the U.S. position as the world’s largest oil producer,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

However, the Kremlin on Friday said that Russia and Saudi Arabia have good relations when it comes to oil markets and Moscow does not need anyone else to intervene. Oil prices pared some of their gains after the Russian remarks.

To counter the impact of the spreading virus, the world’s richest nations are pouring unprecedented aid into the global economy to fend off a recession.

Sources told Reuters that China was set to unleash trillions of yuan of fiscal stimulus to revive an economy facing its first contraction in four decades.

The announcements by central banks lifted oil prices by 10% in the session, but crude futures turned negative as demand concerns persisted.

“My concern relates to the likelihood of more mobility restrictions around the globe, which is likely to weigh further on oil demand. Hence, the worst is probably not over for oil prices,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Supply restraint by core OPEC producers could push up second-quarter Brent prices to $30 a barrel, while U.S. measures to support the market could underpin prices in the near term, Goldman Sachs said in a research note.

 


Legal Notice