Futures Movers: Oil prices headed for biggest weekly gain since May 2020 as Russia-Ukraine war drives supply fears

Oil prices were headed for the biggest weekly gain in nearly two years, with prices elevated again Friday as Russia’s war on Ukraine intensified, leading to an earlier fire at a nuclear plant.

Price action

April West Texas Intermediate crude futures 



rose $2.41, or 2.2%, to $110.09 a barrel, which work mark a revision to a 2011 high. On Thursday, oil fell 2.7%, to end at $107.67 a barrel after trading at a session peak of $116.57, the highest since August 2008.

May Brent crude 

the global benchmark, climbed to a July 2014 high of $112.81 a barrel, a gain of $2.34, or 2.1%. That follow’s Thursday’s decline of $2.47, or 2.2%, to a settlement of $110.46 a barrel, following a session high of $119.84.

April natural gas 

rose 1.7% to $4.804 per million British thermal units.

April gasoline 

rose 1.2% to $3.326 a gallon. April heating oil 

rose 0.7% to $3.5290 a gallon.

Market drivers

U.S. crude has gained more than 20% this week, and on a continuos contract basis, that would mark the biggest weekly gain since May 2020. Brent prices climbed more than 17% for the week thus far, also hovering the biggest such gain since May 2020, according to FactSet Research.

Prices of oil and several other commodities have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began more than a week ago. On Friday, Russian shelling triggered a fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia plant in the city of Enerhodar.

The fire was extinguished and Ukraine’s state nuclear regulator said radiation levels in the area had not changed. Russian troops are now controlling the nuclear plant, according to the Associated Press.

Oil bounced around on Thursday following reports of an agreement on a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, but investors remain fixated on a scramble for barrels of oil. That excludes Russian oil, which is also putting a strain on global supplies, as market participants shun supplies from that country.

Read: Why Russian oil can’t find buyers even as crude nearly touches $120 a barrel

Moody’s warned Friday that the Russia-Ukraine war was raising risks for the global economy and increasing inflationary pressures through higher prices from key commodities including oil.

“Escalation of the military conflict would put Europe’s economic recovery at risk,” said Kelvin Dalrymple, senior credit officer at Moody’s, in a note Friday.

“The rest of the world will be affected by commodity price shocks at a time when inflation is already high, and by financial repercussions from the sanctions against Russia and from financial market volatility,” he said.

Investors will get a fresh update on the U.S. economy on Friday when nonfarm payrolls for February are released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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