Brent Crude Plummets 15% on Anniversary of War

Oil prices edged higher during the volatile trading session on Friday but finished the week unchanged as they drew support from the possibility of lower Russian exports but came under pressure from rising inventories in the US and by concerns about global economic activity.

THE future Brent crude oil prices rose 95 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $83.16 a barrel.

THE future West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rose 93 cents, or 1.2%, to trade at $76.32 a barrel. Earlier in the session, both benchmarks lost more than $1 a barrel.

There was no significant change in the prices of the two benchmarks on a weekly basis.

Declining trading volumes contributed to increased volatility, as Brent crude traded 58% and WTI 90% of its volumes in the last session.

On the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Brent crude was down about 15% from its year-ago level. And it had registered a 14-year high, at around $128 a barrel, on March 8, 2022.

Both benchmarks concluded Thursday’s trading in up about 2%, supported by Russia’s plans to cut oil exports from its western ports by up to 25% in March, which exceeds the announced production cut of 500,000 barrels per day.

Still, supply in the market appeared plentiful, with US inventories hitting their highest level since May 2021, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

JP Morgan said on Friday in a note that the possibility of a short-term decline in prices is greater than the possibility of an increase and will probably head towards $70 and $80 a barrel.

The bank added that it expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut its production to limit the decline in prices.