Printed on Sun Aug 07 2022 6:42:54 PM

Oil jumps as Russia-Ukraine talks stall

International Desk
Oil prices extended their rally on Friday at the end of a third volatile week of trade after slim progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine raised the spectre of tighter sanctions and a prolonged disruption to oil supply.

Despite battleground setbacks and punitive sanctions by the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little sign of relenting.

The fourth day of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators took place by videolink, but the Kremlin said an agreement had yet to be reached.

Brent crude futures jumped $2.75, or 2.6%, to $109.39 a barrel, after surging nearly 9% on Thursday in the largest percentage gain since mid-2020.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $2.93, or 2.9%, to $105.91 a barrel, adding to an 8% jump on Thursday.

Despite the rebound, both benchmark contracts were set to end the week down about 3%, after having traded in a $16 range. Prices have dropped from 14-year highs hit nearly two weeks ago.

"I'm still expecting more volatility. There's a lot of uncertainty out there still," said Justin Smirk, senior economist.

The supply crunch from sanctions on Russia, stuttering nuclear talks with Iran, dwindling oil stockpiles, and worries about a surge of COVID-19 cases in China hitting demand all drove the rollercoaster ride over the week.

Analysts said comments from a Kremlin spokesperson said a report of major progress in peace talks was "wrong" and U.S. President Joe Biden calling Putin a "war criminal" all stoked a wave of buying on Thursday.

RBC Capital analyst Helima Croft cautioned that Russian oil export losses will likely prove enduring and that offsetting barrels are in short supply.

"U.S. Secretary of State Blinken is reportedly preparing to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia later this month and the oil ask will presumably be close to the top of the agenda," she said in a note.
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