(Bloomberg) — Oil headed for a third weekly drop, the longest losing run this year, on concerns about soft US gasoline consumption and scope for a global slowdown as central banks tighten monetary policy to combat inflation.
West Texas Intermediate was little changed above $96 a barrel in early Asian trading, with the US crude benchmark more than 1% lower this week after swinging in a $10 range. US gasoline futures are on course for a fourth weekly loss after data showed rising stockpiles and stalling consumption.
While crude remains almost 30% higher this year, the bulk of the gains triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been reversed. Central banks including the Federal Reserve — which meets next week to set policy — have been raising interest rates to quell inflation, triggering concerns of a slowdown that’ll sap commodity demand. That’s hurt investor interest in raw materials.
The retracement in oil and gasoline prices will be welcome news for US President Joe Biden, who earlier this year ordered a massive release of crude from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Still, Biden’s efforts to get oil power house Saudi Arabia to pump more have met with little success.
In a phone call on Thursday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed continued cooperation within OPEC+, the broad group that comprises the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies. “It was emphasized that a further coordination within OPEC+ is important,” according to to a statement from the Kremlin.
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