Brent Steady Near $107
Brent crude oil steadied near $107 as the tense situation between the West and Russia kept a floor under prices.
The commodity traded at $106.87 at 7:45 GMT on Thursday morning.
Reuters reported that the US and EU are planning to deepen sanctions by working together in order to punish Moscow for the annexation of Crimea. On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama said economic sanctions designed to isolate Russia would increase in the coming days until Russian President Vladimir Putin changes course in Ukraine.
Despite the news, Brent held steady near $107; but most believe that oil prices will carry risk premium until the situation has been completely resolved.
WTI saw a boost after data from the US' Cushing Oklahoma storage facility showed a 1.33 million barrel decline in stockpiles. Analysts are expecting to see seasonal refinery maintenance depress crude demand over the next month.
Moving forward investors will have their eye on US data due out later in the day for any indication that the world's largest oil consumer's economy is on the upswing. GDP figures as well as weekly jobless claims are expected to paint a positive picture of US economic growth which would help support oil markets.
An increase of Iranian oil in the marketplace has kept a lid on prices as the market takes on more supply. Under a temporary agreement to ease sanctions on Iran's oil, the nation's exports are supposed to average 1 million barrels per day for six months. However, since November Iran has exceeded that limit exporting to Asia.
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