Brent rose for the first time in three days as a vote in Ukraine stoked concern that oil supplies from Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, may be curbed. West Texas Intermediate increased after hedge funds cut wagers.
Futures rose as much as 0.8 percent in London. Pro-Russian groups hailed a large majority that voted for secession in balloting in eastern Ukraine dismissed as illegitimate by the government in Kiev and its U.S. and European allies. The global oil market is sufficiently supplied and demand is “great,” according to Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum Minister Ali Al-Naimi.
“There is still a lit fuse in Ukraine,” Michael Poulsen, an analyst at Global Risk Management Ltd. in Middelfart, Denmark, said by e-mail. “The weekend’s unofficial referendum means that the geopolitical tensions will still be around when considering the longer term.”
Brent for June settlement climbed as much as 88 cents to $108.77 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $108.55 at 1:35 p.m. London time. The contract slid 15 cents to $107.89 on May 9, capping a second weekly decline. The volume of all futures traded was about 2 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day.
WTI for June delivery rose 0.3 percent to $100.29 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark crude was at a discount of $8.28 to Brent on ICE. The spread widened for a second day on May 9 to close at $7.90.