Oil Futures Settle Higher For 2nd Straight Day On Supply Concerns

Crude oil futures settled sharply higher on Wednesday amid concerns about a possible supply shortage after China relaxed Covid restrictions and OPEC warned it would be impossible to replace supply losses from Russia.

Oil prices moved higher despite data from Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing a much larger than expected jump in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended April 9.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $3.65 or about 3.6% at $104.25 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were up $4.25 or 4.1% at $108.89 a barrel a little while ago.

Natural gas contracts for May closed stronger by $0.32 or about 4.8% at $6.997 per million btus.

Data from EIA showed crude inventories increased by 9.382 million barrels last week, versus an expected increase of about 0.863 million barrels.

The data showed gasoline inventories dropped by 3.649 million barrels last week and distillate stockpile decreased by 2.902 million barrels.

Meanwhile, prospects for peace in Ukraine seemed to fade as Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue the war and U.S. President Joe Biden called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide,” a term his administration has been avoiding.

Putin vowed to continue the invasion of Ukraine until “full completion” of goals. He said that peace talks were “at a dead end,” and Russia’s military operation was going as planned.

The International Energy Agency said that the full impact of sanctions and buyer aversion to Russian oil will take full effect from May onwards. The agency added that it expects Russian oil output losses to average 1.5 million bpd in April, with losses growing to close to 3 million bpd from May.

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