Follow-ups -eshrag News:
HOUSTON: Oil prices were little changed in choppy trading on Tuesday as the market awaited the Federal Reserve’s plans for US rate hikes to gauge their potential impact on the economy and fuel demand.
Brent futures for March delivery rose 27 cents, 0.3 percent, to $79.92 a barrel by 11:22 a.m. ET (16:22 GMT). US crude rose 48 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $75.11 per barrel.
Two US Federal Reserve officials said on Monday they expected the Fed policy rate – now at 4.25 percent to 4.5 percent — would need to rise in steps to 5-5.25 percent to bring higher inflation rates under control.
Fed policymakers said inflation data on Thursday would help them decide whether they can slow the pace of rate hikes at their upcoming meeting, to just a quarter point increase instead of the larger jumps they decreed for most of 2022.
Thursday’s data “could easily clarify the direction of the financial and oil markets for weeks to come,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.
He said the dollar would fall if inflation came in below expectations or was below the November reading, Varga added.
A weaker dollar can boost demand for oil, as dollar-denominated commodities become cheaper for holders of other currencies.
Both WTI and Brent climbed 1 percent on Monday after China, the world’s biggest oil importer and second-largest consumer, opened its borders over the weekend for the first time in three years.
China also issued a second batch of 2023 crude import quotas, raising the total for this year by 20 percent from last year.
But analysts said a revival of Chinese demand may only give oil prices limited support under downward pressure from the global economy.
“Considering that the recovery of consumption is still at the expected stage, the oil price will most likely remain low and range-bound,” said analysts from Haitong Futures.
Barclays bank highlighted a $15-25 per barrel downside to its $98 per barrel Brent forecast for 2023 if a “slump in global manufacturing activity worsens similar to the 2009-09 episode.”
Separately, US stockpiles of crude oil and distillates were expected to have fallen last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.
Iraq’s West Qurna-2 oilfield will resume operations on March 1 following planned maintenance, said the facility’s officials. Quoting the unnamed officials, Reuters reported that the temporary closure will not affect the country’s oil exports.
Chevron Corp.’s first cargo of Venezuelan crude under a US license received in November has departed from a ship-to-ship transfer hub near Aruba to its Pascagoula, Mississippi refinery, according to shipping data seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
Chevron received authorization last year from the US Treasury Department to revive oil output and expand operations in Venezuela.
State-run oil company PDVSA allocated Chevron the first crude cargo this month, which was loaded at Venezuela’s Jose terminal last week, according to shipping data and documents.
Chevron’s tanker Caribbean Voyager this week transferred the 500,000-barrel cargo of Hamaca heavy crude it had loaded in Venezuela to Malta-flagged vessel Sealeo at a ship-to-ship hub near the Caribbean island of Aruba, Refinitiv Eikon tanker monitoring data showed.
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