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Brent Crude Drops to $101.31 on Rising COVID-19 in China

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The international benchmark for crude oil, Brent crude declined from about $109 a barrel it closed on Friday to $101.31 on Monday during the London trading session as concerns over rising cases of COVID-19 in China weighed on the outlook of the commodity.

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Chinese government was said to have started constructing fences around buildings that accommodated COVID-19 victims to curb the further spread of the virus. However, investors are concerned the measures may not be enough given a series of lockdown restrictions put in place in different cities. Businesses and investors have started predicting a total lockdown that could plunge the world back to the 2020 experience and slow down the global economy.

“Today, China fears are adding to the downside momentum for Asian markets. China has tightened parts of the Shanghai lockdown, including erecting fences around apartment buildings with Covid-19 infected individuals. Meanwhile, residents of the Chaoyang district of Beijing will have to submit to three days of testing to get on top of the omicron outbreak there, with parts of it “sealed” or “controlled,” to paraphrase Bloomberg’s story this morning. Although some parts of China have been under restrictions longer than Shanghai, omicron’s arrival in Beijing would be an ominous development,” Jeffrey Halley, a Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific with OANDA stated in an email forwarded to Investors King.

While, the size of the COVID-19 cases is unknown,  continuous restrictions in the world’s largest importer of the commodity and the resumption of crude oil production in Libya‘s closed oil fields could cap oil price increase, even with the sanctions imposed on over 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil import.

Meanwhile, global stock markets extended their declines during the London trading session on Monday on the back of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s projected rates increase. Stoxx 600 Europe index lost more than 2% while S&P 500 dipped by 1%. The cryptocurrency space plunged further.

Bonds and the U.S. Dollar jumped ahead of Federal Reserve action.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Dips on Prolong Chinese Lockdown

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Global oil prices dipped slightly on Monday as economic reports revealed Chinese retail sales dropped 11% year-on-year in the month of April following the nation’s decision to extend the COVID-19 lockdown to about 46 cities.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $108.96 per barrel on Monday before rebounding to $112.66 after reports showed Saudi Arabia’s crude oil export declined to 7.235 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the month of March. This represents a decline of 1% from 7.307 million bpd reported in February.

Also, crude oil prices were supported by reports that European Union could reach a deal to impose additional sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. According to European Union diplomats and officials, the new sanctions will target Russian crude oil.

However, at Investors King we are expecting the drop in Russia’s crude oil supply to be balanced out by the expected drop in Chinese crude oil imports due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, will expect oil prices to remain around the current level in the near term.

“With a planned ban by the EU on Russian oil and slow increase in OPEC output, oil prices are expected to stay close to the current levels near $110 a barrel,” said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at Market Risk Advisory.

It is important to note that despite Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports dropping by 1%, crude oil production jumped to its highest level in about 24 months at 10.300 million bpd, up from 10.225 million bpd produced in the previous month.

Meanwhile, concerns over falling oil inventories in the United States bolstered gasoline futures to an all-time high on Monday.

“Oil prices will remain bullish, especially WTI’s near-term contract, as U.S. gasoline prices continued to rise amid weaker imports of petroleum products from Europe,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Securities.

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OPEC and Allies Raises Nigeria’s Crude Oil Quota by 1%

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The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC plus, have raised Nigeria’s crude oil quota by 1% or 19,000 barrels per day to 1.772 million barrels per day (mbpd) for the month of June.

This was disclosed in the OPEC plus report ‘June 2022 Required Production’ released on Thursday.

The increment was after the European Union announced it was working on new sanctions that will target Russian oil over its invasion of Ukraine. The union blamed Russia for a series of human abuse and the ongoing surge in global risk and economic uncertainty.

This, coupled with the extended COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, forced OPEC plus to increase Nigeria and others’ quotas.

With Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude trading at $110 a barrel, Nigeria’s daily oil revenue starting from June 2022 will be $194.92 million or N81.67 billion.

In a statement obtained by Investors King “Following the conclusion of the 28th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, held via video conference on 5th May, it was noted that continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a balanced market.

“It further noted the continuing effects of geopolitical factors and issues related to the ongoing pandemic. The OPEC and participating non-OPEC oil-producing countries, therefore, decided to reaffirm the decision of the 10th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on 12th April 2020 and further endorsed in subsequent meetings, including the 19th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on the 18th July 2021.”

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Oil Prices Extended Gains on New Russia Sanctions

Crude oil prices rose in the early hours of Wednesday on reports European Union is working on new sanctions against Russia oil

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Russina Oil to Europe

Crude oil prices rose in the early hours of Wednesday during the Asian trading session on reports that the European Union is working on new sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine.

The new sanctions will target Russia’s oil industry, according to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.

According to Josep Borrell, the head of the foreign policy unit at the EU’s executive European Commission, the European Union is working on its sixth sanctions to de-SWIFT more banks and list names of disinformation actors and tighten some loose ends regarding oil imports in the region.

“We are working on the sixth package of sanctions which aims to de-SWIFT more banks, list disinformation actors and tackle oil imports.”

Brent crude oil rebounded to $103.52 per barrel at 6:09 am Nigerian time on Wednesday, up from $103.03 a barrel it traded on Tuesday. The U.S West Texas Intermediate oil stood at $102.77 per barrel.

Crude oil dipped on Tuesday on concerns China’s COVID-19 lockdown could hurt demand for the commodity given China’s position as the world’s largest importer of crude oil. However, the European Union announcement and 3.5 million barrels declined in U.S. crude oil inventories in the week ended April 29 bolstered oil prices on Wednesday.

Still, the drop in the global manufacturing purchasing manager index for the first time since June 2022 in the month of April remained a concern.

Caroline Bain, the chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, explained that given rising inflation and interest rates, “the big picture is clearly negative for commodities demand.”

“While supply constraints may keep commodity prices elevated for some time yet, we think subdued demand will weigh on most prices later this year and in 2023,” Bain said.

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