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Oil Edges Higher In Choppy Trade

Oil prices rose in choppy trade on Wednesday amid increasing concerns about the tight nature of the global market.

Brent crude futures for May delivery were up nearly 1 percent at $116.53 per barrel after fluctuating earlier in the session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May settlement were up 0.7 percent at $110.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who’s travelling to Europe for Thursday’s NATO meeting, is expected to unveil new sanctions on members of the Russian parliament during his trip.

Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter and supplies almost 40 percent of EU gas and a quarter of its oil.

Plunging crude stockpiles in the United States also added to concerns about supply.

The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude stocks fell by 4.3 million barrels for the week ended March 18 as against analysts’ expectations for an increase.

Meanwhile, the energy ministry in Moscow warned that Russian and Kazakhstan oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from the Black Sea may fall by up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd), or 1 percent of global oil production due to storm-damaged berths.

Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s deputy energy minister, said repair works could take up to two months.

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