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Oil Prices Advance Ahead Of New US Sanctions On Russia

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Oil prices advanced on Wednesday after having fallen sharply the previous day, largely in response to the White House’s plan to release 180 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR and signs of a prolonged Covid lockdown in Shanghai, the Chinese financial hub.

Benchmark Brent crude futures climbed 1.5 percent to $108.26 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures were up 1.7 percent at $103.72.

Supply concerns persisted as markets await fresh sanctions to punish Moscow over alleged atrocities in Ukraine, something Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky described as “war crimes”.

The European Commission has already proposed new sanctions including banning Russian coal imports, raising worries about a new global supply challenge.

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated on Tuesday a surprise U.S crude oil inventory build of 1.08 million barrels for the week ended April 1.

The API also reportedly showed a weekly inventory decline of 543,000 barrels for gasoline, while distillate stockpiles rose by 593,000 barrels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes its weekly numbers on crude oil, gasoline and distillate stockpiles later in the day.

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