Brent crude fell amid speculation that Ukraine’s election of a new president may help ease months of tension with Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter. West Texas Intermediate slid in New York.
Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent in London. Ukraine elected billionaire Petro Poroshenko as president yesterday, handing him the task of stemming separatist unrest in the country, a conduit for Russian oil and natural gas supplies to Europe. China, the second-largest oil user globally, announced plans to slow its pace of energy consumption.
“There’s been quite a political vacuum in Ukraine, and that should begin to get resolved,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by phone today. “News about Ukraine has been helping to bring down prices a bit,” he said, describing Poroshenko as “ someone who can sit down with the Russians to try to work out their differences.”
Brent for July settlement declined as much as 79 cents to $109.75 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $109.90 at 12:47 p.m. London time. The contract gained 18 cents to $110.54 on May 23. The volume of all futures traded was about 62 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have lost 0.8 percent this year.
WTI for July delivery decreased as much as 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, and was at $104.02 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark crude traded at a discount of $5.91 to Brent. The spread closed at $6.19 on May 23, the narrowest in five weeks.
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