Brent Steady At $109 With Ukrainian Elections In Focus
Brent crude oil was steady above $109 to finish the week after losing some ground on the return of Libyan supply to the market.
The commodity traded at $109.23 at 6:43 GMT as investors kept an eye on the developing crisis in Ukraine as the nation’s presidential elections approached.
It has been a week of turmoil for Ukraine as the conflict appears to be slowly slipping out of the government’s control.
Last weekend pro-Russian separatists won a landslide victory in a secession vote, which caused the EU to step up its sanctions against individuals and businesses tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Although Russia called for the vote to be postponed days before it took place, Ukraine and its allies have accused Russia of stirring up problems and doing too little too late.
Now, many are worried that Ukraine’s May 25 presidential elections could be disrupted as rebels in eastern Ukraine have formally asked to become a part of Russia.
Reuters reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a warning to Russia, saying Moscow would face broader economic sanctions if it interferes with the upcoming election.
Meanwhile US crude was boosted by jobless claims data out on Thursday which helped take the focus off of the nation’s weak production figures. Unemployment claims in the US fell to 297,000 last week, the lowest number of claims the nation has seen since May 2007.
However, many analysts are expecting to see WTI lose momentum later in the day as housing starts figures, due out at 12:30 GMT, are expected to miss expectations.
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