Oil Prices Steady as Global Slowdown Concerns Remain

Oil prices were little changed in early Asia trade on Monday as investors braced for more volatility in the aftermath of the banking crisis, which is spreading throughout markets, while comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend escalated geopolitical tensions in Europe.

As of 11.31 AM Bangkok Time, Brent crude futures were trading down slightly, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $69.31 per barrel.

Brent increased by 2.8% last week, while WTI jumped 3.8% as banking sector worries subsided.

According to market watchers, risk assets have risen in the open this morning, as there was no negative news in the banking sector over the weekend.

The escalation of geopolitical tensions in Europe over Ukraine further bolstered prices after President Vladimir Putin announced he will post tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

On Sunday, NATO issued an official statement condemning Putin’s “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated on Friday that Russia was nearly at its goal of reducing crude output by 500,000 bpd to roughly 9.5 million bpd.

Based on data from industry sources and Reuters’ calculations from Friday, it appears that Russia will maintain crude oil exports by reducing refinery production in April.

The prospect for oil remains bleak, with a likely US recession, French strikes, and persistent Russian supply all weighing down on the outlook. This would be the largest quarterly loss for oil since 2020. JPMorgan Chase & Co. predicts that Brent could drop below $60 per barrel in the near future, so the sell-off may not be ended just yet.