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Oil Edges Lower, Trading Costs Rise


28 March 2022

Oil prices fell on Friday, with some supply concerns alleviated by the partial resumption of exports from Kazakhstan’s CPC crude terminal. At the same time, the European Union remained divided over whether to impose an oil embargo. Brent crude (BRN1!) fell $1.29, or 1.1 percent, to $117.74 per barrel at 1049 GMT; West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CL1!) fell $1.80, or 1.6 percent, to $110.54; afterward, both fell more than 2% the previous session.

Both benchmarks were on track to post their first weekly gain in three weeks despite the drop. Brent was on its way for a 9% increase; WTI was on track for a 6% increase.

Concerns arose after the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) terminal on Black Sea coast halted exports due to storm damage. According to two sources familiar with the process and shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon, the terminal partially resumed oil loadings on Friday. Both the United States and the United Kingdom rely less on oil than the European Union; however, they imposed bans on crude. The EU is heavily reliant on oil and gas; it faces a more difficult decision about whether to sanction the sector.

Price and Global Stock

According to OPEC sources, the producer group’s officials believe that a potential EU ban on oil would harm consumers and have expressed their concerns to Brussels. Analysts said the market remained vulnerable to any supply shock, despite global stockpiles being at their lowest since 2014.

Prices influenced by the possibility of another coordinated release of oil from storage by the US and its allies to help calm oil markets.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) raised Brent futures margins by 19 percent for the May contract beginning on Friday; this was the third increase this year, in response to market volatility. When markets are volatile, futures margin rates rise; transactions become expensive because traders must increase the deposit they hold at the exchange for each contract to demonstrate their ability to deliver on obligations. To alleviate concerns about gas supply, the US said it would work to ensure additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes for the EU market of at least 15 billion cubic meters in 2022, with future increases expected.

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