USOIL Sets 13+ Years High, As the War in Ukraine Enters its Eighth Day & OPEC+ Sticks to Output Plan

  • USOil
    (${instrument.percentChange}%)

Sanctions Against Russia

Western countries have imposed a series of measures against Russia for invading Ukraine, which include sanctions against the Russian central bank. Most importantly, they have excluded important Russian banks from the SWIFT international banking system. [1]

We have also seen a large number of corporate action to cut ties from Russia, including energy giants BP, Shell and ExxonMobil.

BP announced on Sunday that it will exit its 19.75% shareholding in Rosneft [2], Shell followed on Monday announcing its intention to exit its joint ventures with Gazprom and related entities [3] and ExxonMobil said that it will discontinue the operation of the Sakhalin-1 project and make no new investments in Russia [4].

Other energy firms are more cautious however, such as TotalEnergies, which will no longer provide capital for new projects in Russia but, has not announced any plans to divest its stake Novatek.[5]

No Ban on Russian Oil & Gas

As we had commented earlier in the week, the SWIFT exclusion along with the rest of the sanctions and the corporate activities would reasonably have an effect on the supply of commodities from Russia and their prices, although there is no direct ban on Russian oil and gas.

US President Biden had not ruled this out yesterday, saying that "nothing is off the table" , while Press Secretary Jen Psaki had commented that "we are very open" to such sanctions, speaking on MSNBC [7].

A little later on the day however, the White House seemed to downplay those prospects, since Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented that the administration does not have "a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy".

High energy prices and surging inflation in the US have been a constant headache for Mr Biden and any ban on oil would only aggravate those problems, so it is clear that the United States and other Western countries are very cautious around this.

IEA & OPEC+

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that its 31 member-countries agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves in an effort to alleviate the problem, but it definitely did not contain the rally in oil prices. [9]

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, which include Russia, did not seem overly concerned over the effects of the war in Ukraine. The group that has come to be known as OPEC+ decided to stick to its monthly plan and to add another 400,000 barrels/day of oil in April, as it has been doing since late-summer. [10]

There was no direct mention to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, nor the recent rally in prices, with the statement merely noting that "current volatility is not caused by changes in market fundamentals but by current geopolitical developments".

The oil producing countries may be betting on the return of Iranian oil to the market, as negotiations with Western nations continue, for the containment of its nuclear program. A successful outcome would lift sanctions on Iranian exports.

There has been some optimism for the revival of the deal and earlier this week, Mr Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry twitted that "A deal is at hand, if WH makes its mind. Iran is willing, but will not wait forever". [11]

However, an agreement is still elusive and Iran wants guarantees that the United States won't walk away from the deal, as they had done under the Trump administration.

USOIL

The commodity extends its profitable streak into the third straight day and rises to the highest level since August 2008, registering a nearly 20% rally in the month.
This brings 119.93-120.00 in its eyesights, but it may be early for a bigger rally that will threaten 135.09.

A pull back towards 107.69 would seem reasonable, although a larger decline towards and below 110.54-00 would likely need a catalyst. The Relative Strength Index is at its most overbought levels since late September and back then the USOIL had dropped significantly.

Caution is needed as volatility is high and markets react to the news around the situation in Ukraine and wait to see if another round of peace talks will take place.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Market Specialist

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.

References

1

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_22_1441

2

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/news-and-insights/press-releases/bp-to-exit-rosneft-shareholding.html

3

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://www.shell.com/media/news-and-media-releases/2022/shell-intends-to-exit-equity-partnerships-held-with-gazprom-entities.html

4

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://corporate.exxonmobil.com/News/Newsroom/News-releases/2022/0301_ExxonMobil-to-discontinue-operations-at-Sakhalin-1_make-no-new-investments-in-Russia

5

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://totalenergies.com/media/news/press-releases/totalenergies-statement-concerning-war-ukraine

7

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch

9

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://www.iea.org/news/iea-member-countries-to-make-60-million-barrels-of-oil-available-following-russia-s-invasion-of-ukraine

10

Retrieved 03 Mar 2022 https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/press_room/6830.htm

11

Retrieved 06 Dec 2022 https://twitter.com/SKhatibzadeh/status/1498437683257004037

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