Oil ends lower for the session, up for the week, ahead of OPEC+ meeting, EU ban on Russian oil

Oil futures ended lower on Friday, but gained for the week, as investors awaited a pair of events: a Sunday meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, and the Monday kickoff of European Union ban on Russian seaborne crude imports.

Oil prices moved lower during Friday’s trading session following news that the European Union agreed on a price cap of $60 for Russian seaborne oil, which some analysts said would have little impact.

Price action
  • West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery


    declined by $1.24, or 1.5%, to settle at $79.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with prices for the most-active contract gaining nearly 4.9% for the week, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

  • February Brent crude

    the global benchmark, was down $1.31, or 1.5%, at $85.57 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, for a 2.2% weekly gain.

  • Back on Nymex, January gasoline
    fell 2.6% to $2.2804 a gallon, gaining 0.3% for the week, while January heating oil
    was down 2.9% at $3.1685 a gallon, little changed for the week.

  • January natural gas
    lost 6.8% at $6.281 per million British thermal units, losing more than 14% for the week.

Market drivers

Oil marked a weekly gain, buoyed in part by signs China is beginning to ease strict COVID curbs.

Meanwhile, OPEC+ meets Sunday. Many analysts look for the group to hold production steady amid uncertainty over how a EU ban on vessel-borne Russian crude that begins Monday will affect the market.

“In view of the many uncertainties on the market, however, it is unlikely to implement any further measures this Sunday. After all, the EU’s oil embargo on (seaborne) crude oil from Russia will come into force on Monday,” said Barbara Lambrecht, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

Oil prices have seen volatile trading in the run up to the meeting, with U.S. prices spending much of the week rebounding from a brief drop on Monday to the lowest intraday level of the year.

Read: Oil-price volatility complicates Sunday’s OPEC+ decision on production levels

“It’s too soon for OPEC to implement another production cut as the current cut is still getting understood, especially in light of the latest China COVID policy pivot,” Stephen Innes, manager partner with SPI Asset Management, told MarketWatch.

It’s also unclear what effect a separate price cap on Russian oil will have. Prices for oil on Friday moved lower after news that the European Union reached a deal on a $60 a barrel cap on the price of Russian oil.

Read The Wall Street Journal: EU Backs Russian Oil Price Cap of $60 a Barrel

The “Russian price cap is a joke, as Asian buyers are already paying below this price,” said Manish Raj, chief financial officer at Velandera Energy Partners.

Read more: Here’s what analysts think of the $60 price cap on Russian oil

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