Oil edges lower on Ukraine talks, fears over China demand

Pump jack over an oil well along Interstate 25 near Dacono, Colo, December 22, 2018. (AP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices edged lower on Tuesday as ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine eased fears of further supply disruptions and surging coronavirus cases in China fueled concerns about slower demand.

Brent futures fell $4.64 to $102.3 a barrel at 0630 GMT after tumbling by more than $6 to $100.05 earlier in the session.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped $4.64 to $98.37 per barrel. It fell to as low as $96.70 earlier in the session.

Both benchmarks declined by more than 5% the previous day, with Brent sliding 5.1% and WTI skidding 5.8%.

“Expectations of positive developments in the Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks bolstered hopes to ease tightness in the global crude market,” Reuters quoted Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co Ltd, as saying.

“Fresh lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in China also raised concerns over slower demand,” he said.

China posted a steep jump in daily COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, with new cases more than doubling from a day earlier to a two-year high as a virus outbreak expanded rapidly in the country’s northeast, according to Reuters.

Further talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators to ease the crisis were expected on Tuesday after discussions on Monday via video ended with no new progress announced.

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