News24.com | Oil posts biggest weekly drop in more than 10 years

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Mark Drakeford is a ‘fully paid up, left-wing busybody’ says William Hague

Pres. Joe Biden. Foto: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


Pres. Joe Biden. Foto: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



  • Oil has posted its biggest weekly loss in over a decade after United States President Joe Biden ordered the release of strategic reserves.
  • International Energy Agency nations agreed to release another round of crude stockpiles, with volumes to be decided later.
  • President Biden expects allies to release an additional 30 million to 50 million barrels.

Oil posted its biggest weekly loss in more than 10 years after the Biden administration ordered an unprecedented release of United States strategic reserves to tame rampant prices.

West Texas Intermediate dropped 1% on Friday and over $14 this week, the most since 2011. The US plans to release 1 million barrels a day for six months.

International Energy Agency (IEA) nations also agreed to release another round of crude stockpiles, with volumes to be decided later. President Joe Biden expects allies to release an additional 30 million to 50 million barrels.

Citigroup said the US appeared to have taken steps to ensure that it could deliver the promised volumes, despite having never drawn down that much oil from the reserve stockpile. Goldman Sachs cut its price forecasts for this year but boosted the estimate for 2023, arguing that the move won’t fix a longer-term supply crisis.

Releasing 1 million barrels a day from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve “can easily be accomplished,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil in Houston.

Biden’s decision follows rocketing gasoline prices in America and concerns about supply shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has roiled global commodity markets and driven up the price of everything from fuels to food.

It has also led to tumultuous trading in oil, with massive intraday swings throughout March. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded in almost a $37 range last month.

The US already tapped its reserves twice in the past six months, but that’s done little to cool prices. As much as 180 million barrels may be released this time.

“The market is short about 2 million barrels a day, if not more, from Russian supplies into the global market,” Amos Hochstein, the US State Department’s senior energy security adviser, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

READ | Germany aims to be nearly free of Russia oil this year

The Biden administration’s giant oil release contrasts sharply with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), which on Thursday ratified a planned, modest production increase of about 430 000 barrels a day.

The cartel is struggling to keep up with production, having roughly added a third of the volume planned in March, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The market also came under some technical pressure Friday as WTI fell below its 50-day moving average for the first time since early January. Brent also slipped toward that level before rallying away from it.

Also contributing to this week’s slide were concerns about Chinese demand as the world’s biggest oil importer implements a series of lockdowns to curb a resurgence of Covid-19. Those curbs are starting to affect the economy, with manufacturing activity contracting in March.

Shell has difficulty paying for Russian gas supplies this month because the Kremlin wants payments transferred through United Kingdom-sanctioned Gazprombank JSC, according to two people familiar with discussions in Russia.

OPEC struggled to deliver even a modest scheduled increase in oil supplies last month, when major consumers were urging the cartel to fill in the gap left by Russia. 

A seller of Russian crude gave Chinese buyers the flexibility to pay in yuan, as the energy giant attempts to keep its few remaining export channels flowing smoothly

-With assistance from Michael Roschnotti.

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