Futures Movers: U.S. crude renews a push higher, nearing $100 a barrel, Brent also climbs

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Crude prices were climbing on Thursday, following three days of losses, with investors focused on global supply constraints and continued violence in Ukraine.

Price action

West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery



climbed $4.03, or 4.2%, to $99.07 a barrel. The contract fell nearly 1.5%, to settle at $95.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, the lowest front-month contract settlement since Feb. 25, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

May Brent crude 

the global benchmark, jumped $4.15, or 4.2%, to $102.15 a barrel. Brent fell 1.9% to $98.02 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe on Wednesday.

April gasoline

 rose 3% to $3.080 a gallon, while April heating oil 

jumped 6.8% to $3.31 a gallon.

April natural gas 

 inched up 0.3% to $4.762 per million British thermal units, up 3.9%.

Market drivers

The rebound for oil comes as both WTI and Brent on Tuesday closed 22% below near 14-year highs set on March 8, meeting the technical definition of a bear market.

That’s amid volatility that has swept through commodity markets that has followed Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Hopes for negotiations were pushed back on Thursday, amid reports that Russia refuted that major progress had been made in Ukraine talks.

Russia carried out further airstrikes on the besieged port city of Mariupol early Thursday. Rescuers in that city are continuing to dig out survivors from a bombed out theater where hundreds had been sheltering.

“Oil prices are staging gains with Brent crude back above the psychological $100 a barrel mark as risk-on sentiment drives optimism towards the global demand outlook,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, in a note to clients.

Scholar added that a “stark assessment” from the International Energy Agency that the market could lose three million barrels of Russian oil a day from April have prompted supply worries, driving prices upwards.

“If the Ukraine war continues to show tentative signs of easing, the dizzy heights of almost $140 for oil, driven by last week’s geopolitical risk premium, are unlikely to be repeated in the immediate term,” said Scholar.

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