West is still buying Russian oil

An opaque market is forming to obscure the origin of Russia’s oil as more tankers are loaded without a precise destination

Russia ramped up oil shipments to key customers in recent weeks, defying its pariah status in world energy markets. One increasingly popular method for delivery: tankers marked “destination unknown.”

Oil exports from Russian ports bound for European Union member states, which historically have been the biggest buyers of Russian crude, have risen to an average of 1.6 million barrels a day so far in April, according to TankerTrackers.com. Exports had dropped to 1.3 million a day in March following the Ukraine invasion. Similar data from Kpler, another commodities data provider, showed flows rose to 1.3 million a day in April from 1 million in mid-March.

Oil from Russian ports is increasingly being shipped with its destination unknown. In April so far, over 11.1 million barrels were loaded into tankers without a planned route, more than to any country, according to TankerTrackers.com. That is up from almost none before the invasion.

But an opaque market is forming to obscure the origin of that oil. Unlike before Russia invaded Ukraine, oil buyers are worried about the reputational risk of trading crude that is financing a government that Western leaders accuse of war crimes.

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Morgan Stanley Raises Oil Forecasts as Supply Risks Eclipsed by Waning Demand

0830 GMT – Morgan Stanley raises its oil prices forecasts, despite expecting weaker global economic growth, as supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine are likely to be greater than expected. The bank adds $10 to its brent forecasts for the third and fourth quarters, expecting $130 a barrel and $120 a barrel, respectively. Demand for oil will likely weaken as global growth slows in the face of the Ukraine war, resurgent Covid-19 cases in China, and interest rate hikes in the U.S. But that is expected to be more than offset by supply issues. Russian supply has likely fallen by more than expected since the war’s outbreak while there remains a risk of an EU ban on Russian crude, MS says. ([email protected])

Oil Falls as Fed’s Powell Signals Half-Point Rate Rise

0750 GMT – Oil prices fall as investors worry about interest-rate hikes hitting demand. Brent crude oil, the international oil benchmark falls 0.8% to $107.14 a barrel. WTI, the U.S. benchmark, falls 0.7% to $103.02 a barrel. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled Thursday that the central bank would raise interest rates by half a percentage point at its meeting in May in an effort to tamp down rapidly rising inflation. That would be the first half-point increase since 2000 and has added to investors’ concerns that global growth, and with it demand for oil, could slow. ([email protected])

Base Metals Hold Steady After Consumption Concerns in Asia

0744 GMT – Base metal prices are staying broadly flat as supply worries balance out consumption concerns in Asia. Three-month copper prices in London ticked down by 0.1% to $10,282.50 a metric ton while aluminum rose 0.1% to $3,305 a ton. Consumption worries had pushed base metals down over the last week, with copper prices seeing a third consecutive week of falling prices. But a raft of supply concerns from miners on Thursday helped to balance out the weakening sentiment–20% of Peru’s copper mining industry has moved into force majeure because of local protests, while aluminum smelters battle with rising energy costs. ([email protected])

Gold Rises After Fed Comments

0730 GMT – Gold futures in New York are moving higher in early trading to $1,954 a troy ounce, up 0.3%, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank might increase interest rates by half a percentage point in May. The hawkish comments come against a tide of inflation and other economic growth worries, helping to push investors toward gold. “Bullion provides a good hedge against hyperinflation, which creates risks to holding traditional assets. Still, with stagflation moving from a potential tail risk to reality, investors worldwide are turning to gold as a keen portfolio diversifier,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, says in a note. ([email protected])

Gold Can Find Support From ETF Investment Amid Worries About a U.S. Recession

0330 GMT – Gold prices can find support from higher ETF investments amid worries about a possible U.S. recession, Goldman Sachs analysts say in a note. “The build in ETFs happened despite an increase in real rates and was in line with the market’s increased focus on recession risks,” the analysts say. Goldman economists estimate a 20%-35% chance of a U.S. recession occurring over the coming year, the note says. “These recession odds assessments imply between 400 tons and 1,600 tons of annual gold ETF build,” which implies upsides to gold prices, the analysts say.


Arab Observer

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