Brent Steady, Supply Still Weighs On Prices
Brent crude oil traded steadily at $102.10 at 8:10 GMT as the global supply glut weighed on prices.
The commodity has been unresponsive to instability in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East and instead, driven by economic data.
This year, global supplies are expected to outpace demand as several large consumers struggle to get their economies back on track.
Chinese consumption has been subdued as the nation’s manufacturing sector slogs through a slow period. In Europe, economic indicators are pointing to a slowdown and inflation data due out on Friday is expected to show that the region is slipping even closer to a period of deflation.
With crude demand already under pressure, prices took a further hit after Reuters reported a fire at BP’s largest U.S. refinery that will likely depress the number one oil consuming nation’s demand.
Meanwhile, the tension between Russia and the West remained near all-time highs as the conflict in Ukraine showed no signs of easing. On Wednesday, Kiev said that Russia was sending military support across the border to rebel-held towns in the eastern part of the country. Though the Kremlin has denied any involvement, Western leaders have been skeptical.
So far, Russia has resisted international pressure to get involved and help calm the situation, which has led to a sanctions war that has been weighing on global economic growth.
Moving forward, the Middle East will be in focus as the U.S. prepares what could be further military intervention that extends from Northern Iraq to Syria.
Oil exports from Iraq’s southern oilfields have declined slightly but remain untouched by the fighting in the north. However, any further escalation in that conflict could help give Brent prices a boost.
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