May 27, 2024


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Oil futures fell 1% on concerns about an increase in US interest rates

Oil futures fell 1% on concerns about an increase in US interest rates

  • New orders for capital goods manufactured in the United States increased
  • Russia stops exports to Poland through the Druzhba pipeline
  • Fears of a return to a hawkish Fed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell nearly 1 percent on Monday as strong U.S. economic data made investors brace for more interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve to combat inflation, which could also reduce demand for oil.

Losses were limited by concerns about oil supplies after Russia halted exports to Poland via a major pipeline.

Brent crude futures were down 56 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $82.60 a barrel by 11:18 a.m. EDT (1618 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 44 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $75.88.

New orders for major capital goods manufactured in the US increased more than expected in January while shipments rebounded, indicating that business spending on equipment picked up at the start of the first quarter.

The positive economic data helped global stock markets recover, however stocks remained near six-week lows as investors prepare to raise interest rates in the US and Europe.

Fed Governor Philip Jefferson said that inflation in services in the US remains “stubbornly high”.

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Adding to global oil demand concerns, escalating Sino-US tensions have battered stock markets in China and Hong Kong as investors await policy cues from the upcoming Chinese National People’s Congress.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that China had not moved toward providing Russia with lethal aid for use against Ukraine, and added that Washington had made clear behind closed doors that such a move would have serious consequences.

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Polish refiner PKN Orlen (PKN.WA) said on Saturday that Russia had halted oil supplies to Poland through the Druzhba pipeline, a day after Poland said it had delivered its first Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Monday it had begun pumping oil from Kazakhstan to Germany via Poland via the Druzhba pipeline, while halting deliveries to Poland.

Russia this month announced plans to cut its oil exports from its western ports by up to 25% in March versus February, exceeding previously mooted 5% production cuts.

However, most analysts argue that the European Union (EU) ban on seaborne Russian oil imports and an international price cap have little impact on overall global supplies.

“Russian oil production has exceeded expectations in recent months due to lenient sanctions between the European Union and the United States,” Bank of America said in a note.

Additional reporting by Noah Browning in London, Mohi Narayan in New Delhi, and Sudarshan Varadhan in Singapore. Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Jason Neely, Susan Fenton, and David Gregorio

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