Brent advanced for the first time in three days as a referendum in Ukraine fueled concerns that oil shipments from Russia, the biggest energy exporter in the world, may be disrupted. West Texas Intermediate soared.
Futures climbed as high as 0.8% in London. Pro-Russian groups succeeded in pushing a vote for self-rule in eastern part of Ukraine, in a move that Kiev and its US and European backers dismissed as illegal.
But Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum Minister Ali Al-Naimi said global supplies are sufficient and demand is great.
“There is still a lit fuse in Ukraine. The weekend’s unofficial referendum means that the geopolitical tensions will still be around when considering the longer term,” analyst Michael Poulsen of Middelfart-based Global Risk Management Ltd told Bloomberg.
The per barrel price of Brent for June delivery added 88 cents to $108.77 on the ICE Futures Europe in London and traded at $108.55 as of 1:35 pm. The future lost 15 cents to $107.89 on May, completing a second decline in a week. The volume of all futures traded was 2% lower than the average for 100 days at the time of the day.
WTI for June delivery added 0.3% to $100.29 per barrel in the New York Mercantile Exchange. The US blue-chip crude was at a discount of $8.28 to Brent.
The European Union, which termed the Sunday’s Ukraine poll illegal, could impose further sanctions on Russia. However, analysts believe additional measures may not have an impact on oil supply.
Foreign ministers from the EU are expected to meet on Monday to discuss the possibility of adding 15 people and several firms in Crimea to a list of 48 Russians and Ukrainians who have already been hit with assets freezes and Visa bans, according to Reuters.
Investors are also monitoring factory output retail sales stats from China on Tuesday.
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