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04.03.2014 16:41

Oil dropped from a five-month high

West Texas Intermediate crude dropped from a five-month high as Brent slid amid speculation that tension between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, won’t disrupt oil supplies.

WTI declined as much as 1.6 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin said there’s no immediate need for the country to invade Ukraine. Military exercises on Ukraine’s eastern border ended on schedule today. Prices also decreased on estimates that U.S. crude inventories rose for a seventh week.

WTI for April delivery slid $1.57, or 1.5 percent, to $103.35 a barrel at 9:52 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 2.3 percent to $104.92 yesterday, the highest settlement since Sept. 19. The volume of all futures traded was near the 100-day average.

Brent for April settlement dropped $1.98, or 1.8 percent, to $109.22 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $5.87 to WTI, dipping below $6 a barrel for the first time since October. The spread closed at $6.28 yesterday.

Putin told reporters at his residence near Moscow that he reserved the right to use force to protect ethnic Russians, though he said there’s “no such necessity” at present. Troops stationed in Crimea, where Russia keeps its Black Sea fleet, have only been securing their bases, he said. The U.S. and Europe have threatened sanctions against Russia.

WTI climbed yesterday and Brent crude gained 2 percent as escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine spurred concern that supplies from the region would be disrupted.

Russia produced 9.9 million barrels a day of crude oil in 2012 and exported about 5 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. The Yuzhny terminal, which ships Russian oil via the Black Sea, is located near Odessa, Ukraine.

The southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which carries about 300,000 barrels a day of Russian crude via Ukraine to refineries in Eastern Europe, is operating normally, according to OAO Transneft, which operates the Russian portion of the line.

U.S. crude inventories probably increased by 1.3 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 28, according to a Bloomberg survey before an EIA report tomorrow. Supplies have expanded the past six weeks to 362.4 million, the highest level in two months.

04.03.2014 16:21

Gold fell

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