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Oil prices inched higher on Monday as worries about tight supply persisted even as investors eyed the release of supplies from strategic reserves from consuming nations. A truce in Yemen sparked hopes that supply issues in the Middle East could abate.
Brent crude futures were up 9 cents, or 0.09 percent, to $104.48 a barrel by 0427 GMT while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $99.30 a barrel, up 3 cents, or 0.03 percent.
Missiles hit Ukrainian refinery
On Sunday, the Russian defense ministry said missile strikes by its military destroyed an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa.
The ministry said Ukraine used the facilities to supply its troops near the city of Mykolaiv.
Japan may expand fuel subsidy
Meanwhile, the industry minister said that Japan may expand a subsidy program for gasoline and other fuels among measures under consideration to ease soaring energy costs.
The measure will be part of a fresh relief package which Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered his cabinet last Tuesday to put together by the end of April to cushion the economic blow from rising fuel and raw material prices.
“We are concerned that the weak yen, on top of escalated prices of oil and natural gas amid the Ukraine crisis, is hurting business activities and people’s daily life,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda told a talk show on public broadcaster NHK.
More sanctions await Russia
Germany said on Sunday that the West would agree to impose more sanctions on Russia in the coming days after Ukraine accused Russian forces of war crimes near Kyiv, ratcheting up the already vast economic pressure on Russia over its invasion.
Russia’s economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after the United States. Its allies imposed crippling sanctions due to Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha and said Ukraine had staged a performance for the Western media.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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