Oil price rose early on Wednesday.

Oil prices rose early on Wednesday (Mar 16), bouncing back after earlier falling more than US$1 a barrel, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate volatile trading with ceasefire talks the latest market trigger.

Brent futures were up 83 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at US$100.74 a barrel at 1.20am GMT (9.20am, Singapore time). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 58 cents, or 0.6 per cent, at US$97.02 a barrel. Both contracts had earlier declined more than US$1, with Brent falling to US$98.86 a barrel and WTI easing to US$94.90 a barrel.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address released early on Wednesday that the positions of Ukraine and Russia at peace talks were sounding more realistic, but more time was needed.

“Traders are awaiting more clues from ceasefire talks after a two-day selloff in the oil markets, but the crude prices may continue being under pressure as high inflation will eventually drag on economic growth and weakens demands,” said Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets.

Oil had settled below US$100 on Tuesday, the first time since late February. Trading sessions have been volatile since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, with prices hitting 14-year highs on Mar 7, but since then Brent has fallen nearly US$40 a barrel and WTI about US$34.

Prices have also come under pressure in recent days over concerns of slowing China demand, as the world’s most populous country and second-largest oil consumer imposes stringent measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, preliminary data from the American Petroleum Institute showed US crude inventories rose by 3.8 million barrels for the week ended Mar 11, while gasoline inventories fell by 3.8 million barrels and distillate stocks rose by 888,000 barrels, according to sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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