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Commodities update — Oil prices up ahead of Fed; soybean climbs; China shares wobble

RIYADH: Oil prices rose early on Wednesday, bouncing back after earlier falling more than $1 a barrel, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate volatile trading with cease-fire talks the latest market trigger. 

Brent futures were up 83 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $100.74 a barrel at 0120 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, rose 58 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $97.02 a barrel.

Both contracts had earlier declined more than $1, with Brent falling to $98.86 a barrel and WTI easing to $94.90 a barrel.

Japan sets date for auction of oil from reserve

Meanwhile, Japan will hold an auction on April 8 to sell about 1.89 million barrels, or 300,000 kiloliters, of oil from its national reserve, the industry ministry said on Wednesday.

Supply will be available to winning bidders from May 20, the ministry said in a statement.

India’s first-half March fuel sales rise

Indian state fuel retailers posted robust growth in gasoline and gasoil sales in the first half of March, preliminary fuel sales data showed on Wednesday, as consumers and dealers topped tanks ahead on the likelihood of a fuel price hike after March 10.

The state retailers sold 3.53 million tons of gasoil from March 1 to 15, up 32.8 percent from last month, the data showed. Sales of gasoline were 1.24 million tons in the same period, up 18.8 percent from last month.

Wheat, corn ease while soybean climbs

US wheat and corn futures eased on Wednesday, as Ukrainian officials gave upbeat assessments of their peace talks with Russia, lifting the likelihood of the Black Sea region opening up soon for grain exports.

Soybeans rose on firm edible oil prices and as the market closely monitored drought conditions in South America, fueling concerns of tight supply.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade Wv1 was down 0.24 percent at $11.51-1/2 a bushel, as of 0408 GMT, after rising more than 5 percent in the previous session.

Corn Cv1 dropped 0.46 percent to $7.54-1/2 a bushel, while soybeans Sv1 rose 0.63 percent to $16.69-1/4 a bushel. 

Asian share markets up

Asian share markets rose on Wednesday, with investors’ eyes on volatile oil prices, Ukraine-Russia peace talks, and the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise rates for the first time in three years and give guidance on future tightening.

The rise in Asian shares came a day after mainland and Hong Kong equity indexes had tumbled in reaction to spiking coronavirus infections in China and fading expectations for a rate cut by the People’s Bank of China.

Investor sentiment remained weak, however. And the strong early rebound in China’s CSI300 index had evaporated by late morning on Wednesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also trimmed gains.

The Hang Seng was last up 1.7 percent after opening 3.6 percent higher, while the CSI300 was down 0.6 percent from a rise of nearly 1.9 percent earlier.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8 percent.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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