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Title: Oil prices climb as Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks stoke volatility

Mar 16, 2022 04:54AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices rose as much as $3 on Wednesday, recovering from earlier declines as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to make for volatile trading, with ceasefire talks the latest trigger for the market.

At 3:30 a.m. ET, Brent futures were up $2.64, or 2.6 percent, to $102.55 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate crude in the United States was up $1.91, or 2%, to $98.35 per barrel. Both contracts had earlier fallen more than $1 a barrel, with Brent slipping to $98.86 a barrel and WTI to $94.90 a barrel.

In a video address released early Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that Ukraine and Russia's positions on peace talks sounded more realistic, but more time was needed.

Analysts expect the US Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday to combat rising inflation.

Raising rates would strengthen the US dollar and dampen oil demand as a stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for those holding other currencies.

Oil prices were below $100 on Tuesday for the first time since late February.

Trading sessions have been choppy since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, with prices hitting a 14-year high on March 7th, but Brent has since fallen to almost $40 a barrel and WTI to around $34.

Prices have also come under pressure this week from concerns about slowing demand in China as the world's most populous country and second-largest oil consumer takes strict measures against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The number of new domestically transmitted cases in China fell by almost half on March 15 compared with the previous day, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.

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