Brent Slides As Putin Recalls Troops
Brent crude oil slid below $110 as worries about escalating tension in Ukraine were assuaged by a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The commodity traded at $109.17 at 5:45 GMT propped up by the release of China's economic growth forecast for 2014.
Putin reassured global leaders that he was only planning to use military force in Ukraine as a last resort. He defended his obligation to protect Russians living in Ukraine as necessary, but said he wasn't planning to use force to do so unless absolutely necessary. On Tuesday he recalled troops from Western Russia which had been performing military exercises near the Ukrainian border.
However, Russian forces remained in Crimea and fired warning shots when confronted by Ukrainian officers. The Russian navy is also actively blockading the strait which divides Crimea from Russia.
Reuters reported that the conference coupled with Putin's decision to pull back some of his troops caused oil prices to slide two percent on Tuesday.
Geopolitical tension in other parts of the world also let up, compounding the pressure on Brent prices. In Libya, government officials announced that the nation's El Sharara oilfield may reopen shortly. Production at El Sharara has been more than halved since protesters took over control, but now the Libyan government says it is working to meet their demands and resume normal production.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials released their 2014 growth forecast which helped mitigate some of Brent's losses. The world's second largest oil consumer announced that it was aiming for 7.5 percent growth this year with consumer inflation near 3.5 percent.
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