Crude oil futures ease further as risk-off mood lingers

  • Friday, February 18, 2022

  • Keywords:steel
[Fellow]Crude oil futures ease further as risk-off mood lingers

【】Crude oil futures were lower in mid-morning Asian trade Feb. 18, tracking the overall bearish tone in equity markets as heightened tensions in the Russia-Ukraine crisis sparked a widespread sell-off of risk assets.

At 9:45 am Singapore time (0145 GMT), the ICE April Brent futures contract was down 49 cents/b (0.53%) from the previous close at $92.48/b, while the NYMEX March light sweet crude contract was 52 cents/b (0.57%) lower at $91.24/b.

Risk assets were tumbling across the board as the prospect of a Russian incursion into Ukraine inched closer. Shelling was reported in Ukraine Feb. 17 amid what Western powers said were attempts by Russia to create a pretext for invasion, while a senior US diplomat was expelled from Russia the same day.

"The risk-off mood in Wall Street seems to be extended into Asia's trading session as well, as market participants pared back on risks while awaiting greater clarity on how the Ukraine-Russia conflict may further unfold," IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said in a Feb. 18 note.

"Volatility in markets is set to persist as market movements lean toward being more news-driven, which we had witnessed yesterday, that headlines can swing sentiments wildly," he added.

OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said: "For one day, energy traders decided to forget about how tight the oil market remains and took some risk off the table as Wall Street hit the sell button with every risky asset over rising geopolitical concerns."

Analysts have said that an invasion by Russia will likely send oil prices shooting up to the $100/b mark.

Investors were also weighing the possibility of an eventual return of Iranian oil, of which up to 700,000 b/d could return to export markets in the event of a deal, according to S&P Global Platts analytics.

Iran and Western powers have been locked in negotiations since Feb. 8 in Vienna, with recent comments from officials on both sides signaling that a deal was near.

Refiners in South Korea and Japan have raised the prospect of resuming imports of Iranian oil quickly once a deal is reached, S&P Global Platts has reported. Officials from South Korea and Iran held meetings Feb. 17 to discuss crude oil and product trades and the unfreezing of Iranian funds in South Korean banks.

OANDA's Moya said it was unlikely oil prices had far to fall, even in the event of a deal.

"Even if energy traders become convinced an Iran nuclear deal will happen, the oil market is too tight for prices to fall below the mid-$80s," he said.

  • [Editor:zhaozihao]

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