Oil Rises With Ukraine On the Radar

West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded from the lowest close in almost three weeks as the U.S. said it will toughen sanctions on Russia, the biggest energy exporter, over the Ukraine crisis. Brent was steady as Libya lifted force majeure at one of its ports.

Futures advanced as much as 0.9 percent in New York. The U.S. will impose new sanctions today on people and companies close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said. Among those that may be targeted are Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of OAO Rosneft, the country’s biggest oil producer, people familiar with developments said. Libya’s National Oil Corp. will lift a suspension of exports at the port of Zueitina, previously under rebel control, from today.

“The price is being supported by uncertainty as to the breadth and impact of sanctions taken against Russia,” Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. “Another important consideration is how Russia might retaliate against sanctions.”

WTI for June delivery rose as much as 92 cents to $101.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded for $101.17 at 1:47 p.m. London time. Prices dropped 1.3 percent to $100.60 on April 25, the lowest settlement since April 7. The volume of all futures traded was about 8.5 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.

Brent for June settlement pared gains of as much as 62 cents to $110.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, trading for $109.62 at 1:49 p.m. London time. The contract closed at $109.58 on April 25, down 0.7 percent, the biggest decline since April 7.

via Bloomberg

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza