Brent firms up

rubbermarketnews_RMN_brent_crude_oil_05012 May 2014, News Wires – Brent crude futures firmed above $108 per barrel on Monday, supported by renewed tensions in Ukraine.

Pro-Moscow rebels claimed a resounding victory in Sunday’s referendum on self-rule for eastern Ukraine with nearly 90% voting in favour.

“If we see there’s more escalation in Ukraine it will support US prices back up to $102 this week. If US is $2 more than the current price, Brent will be $2.50 to $3 more,” Barratt Bulletin chief executive Jonathan Barratt told Reuters.

Brent crude for June delivery was up $0.34 at $108.23 by Monday morning.

US June crude gained $0.11 at $100.10 per barrel after peaking at $101.18 in the prior session.

Saudi Arabia is willing to supply oil if there are shortages due to tensions over Ukraine, oil minister Ali Al-Naimipi said in the South Korean capital on Monday.

There would be wider implications for European energy supplies if Russia became directly involved, Barratt said.

The European Union could strengthen sanctions against Russia after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region following a similar vote in March.

Investors are also keeping an eye on industrial production and retail sales data which China will be released on Tuesday.

“I expect industrial production to be softer,” Barratt reportedly said.

“The premier [Li Keqiang] came out at the weekend that China had to get used to 7.5% growth as the new norm. It’s about the third time he’s said this,” Barratt said.

Negotiators from Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in the Austrian capital Vienna on Monday, a day before talks resume between Tehran and six western nations over Iran’s nuclear programme.

The two sets of talks are separate but closely linked, as both focus on fears that Iran may be covertly seeking the capability to develop nuclear weapons

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