Oil dips amidst fears of inflation



Oil dipped more than $2 on Monday as COVID-19 cases in Beijing soared and dented hopes of a pick-up in Chinese demand, while worries about more interest rate hikes to control rampant inflation have added further pressure.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell nearly 2 percent to trade below $119 a barrel amid a broader market selloff.

US inflation accelerated to a new 40-year high last month, raising the likelihood of more aggressive interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

China is starting to re-impose virus curbs as cases rise, just weeks after major easing in key cities such as Shanghai. Beijing’s most populous district Chaoyang announced three rounds of mass testing to quell a “ferocious” COVID-19 outbreak.

“The present price fall is exacerbated by warnings of a ‘ferocious’ spread of the COVID virus in Beijing by officials, casting doubt on immediate demand recovery,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

Oil has surged in 2022 as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine compounded supply concerns and as oil demand recovered from COVID lockdowns. Brent hit $139, the highest since 2008, in March, and both oil benchmarks rose more than 1 percent last week.

The war has fanned inflation, driving up the cost of everything from food to fuel. US retail gasoline prices have repeatedly broken records and recently hit $5 a gallon.

Supply remains tight, with OPEC and its allies unable to deliver in full on pledged output increases because of a lack of capacity in many producers, sanctions on Russia, and output in Libya roughly halved by unrest.

“The supply/demand dynamics remain supportive of prices,” said Jeffery Halley of brokerage OANDA, who sees an extended oil sell-off as unlikely “unless US markets move to price in a full-blown recession.”

The US has repeatedly asked OPEC to pump more crude to help tame rising gasoline prices and the hottest inflation in decades.

Equities fell in Asia and made early losses in Europe as Friday’s data showing the US consumer price index rose 8.6 percent last month continued to weigh on financial markets.

The data put markets on alert that the Federal Reserve may tighten policy for too long and cause a sharp economic slowdown. The next Fed policy decision is on Wednesday.

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Francis Ogwo
The young and goal driven writer and cinematographer started his journalism as a print journalist in Kaduna in 2005 writing for Kaduna Chronicles Newspapers, Liberator Newspapers where he became the South Bureau Chief. In 2008, he moved into TV production with an employment into Siverbird Television and Rhythm Fm as a Correspondent. He got certified by Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria(ITPAN) in 2009. After five years of hardwork and training, he was employed as Associate Producer, Moments With Mo and subsequently Producer, Playground on HipTV. Francis currently majors in documentaries and high profile scripts for news and movies. He is currently a Senior Contents Producer at News Central TV


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