Brent Approaches $109 On Ukrainian Conflict
Brent crude oil approached $108 as tension in Ukraine worsened over the weekend.
The commodity traded at $107.93 at 5:40 GMT on Monday morning as investors kept a watchful eye on the simmering conflict between Russia and the Ukrainian government.
After protests in several eastern Ukrainian cities were considered part of a larger operation to encourage Russian military intervention, the Ukrainian government has given the pro-Russian protesters a deadline to disarm.
If the groups do not meet the deadline, Ukraine warned that it would launch a “full scale anti-terrorist operation." The statement upped the possibility of a military clash between Russia and Ukraine, which in turn would escalate the standoff between Moscow and the West.
According to Reuters, Britain’s UN ambassador said that between 35,000 and 40,000 Russian troops are at the ready on the Ukrainian border and a further 25,000 have been moved into Crimea.
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With the situation in Ukraine worsening, US and European leaders are considering further sanctions on Russia in a show of support. EU foreign ministers are set to meet on Monday to discuss the possibility, while the US has said it will target individuals close to President Vladimir Putin rather than entire business sectors.
However, gains were mitigated by the possible release of more Libyan oil into the market and forecasts for China’s GDP which indicate that the nation’s economic slowdown continued in the first quarter.
In Libya, the Zawiya oil port restarted as protesters slowly returned control of the nation’s oil fields to state-run National Oil Corp. The port’s adjoining refinery is expected to change hands in the next 24 hours as well.
Moving forward, Chinese data will be on everyone’s radar as investors try to judge just how much the second biggest oil consuming nation’s economy has slowed. Most are expecting the China’s GDP figures to show that that growth in the first quarter fell to 7.3 percent from 7.7 percent.
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