Brent crude traded near its lowest closing level in four days amid speculation that heightened discord between Russia and Ukraine following weekend elections won’t impact oil supply. West Texas Intermediate was steady before economic data.
Futures were little changed in London even as President-elect Petro Poroshenko said there will be an increase in the efficiency of operations against eastern separatists amid tensions with Russia, the second-largest net oil exporter. Consumer confidence in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, probably rebounded in May while services expanded at a reduced pace, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before separate reports today.
“Since the start of the crisis, Ukraine has failed to be a strong price-leader for crude oil,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland. “We’ve seen many weekends deemed to pose ‘Ukraine risk,’ only to find that risk written off when trading resumes.”
Brent for July settlement dropped 14 cents to $110.18 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 12:32 p.m. local time. The contract slid 22 cents to $110.32 yesterday, the lowest close since May 20. The volume of all futures traded was about 23 percent above the 100-day average. Price are up 2 percent this month.
WTI for July delivery was 31 cents lower at $104.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Floor trading was closed yesterday for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday and transactions will be booked today for settlement purposes. The U.S. benchmark crude was at a discount of $6.12 to Brent on ICE, compared with $6.19 on May 23.
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