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Oil jumps on lack of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks By Reuters

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Oil jumps on lack of progress in Russia-Ukraine talks By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The pump jacks are seen at sunrise on October 14, 2014, near Bakersfield, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices extended gains on Friday, ending a third week of choppy trading, as peace talks between Russia and Ukraine made little progress, adding to fears of tougher sanctions and prolonged disruptions to oil supplies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on Thursday warned that “traitors and scum” domestically helping the West would be spit out like mosquitoes, adding to market jitters over the protracted conflict.

Futures were up $2.43, or 2.3%, at $109.07 a barrel by 0141 GMT, after surging nearly 9% on Thursday, their biggest percentage gain since mid-2020.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.75, or 2.7%, to $105.73 a barrel, after rising 8% on Thursday.

Despite the rally, both benchmark contracts are set to end the week down about 4% in a trading range of $16. Prices have retreated from 14-year highs hit nearly two weeks ago.

“I still expect more volatility. There’s still a lot of uncertainty,” said Justin Smilke, senior economist at Westpac in Sydney.

Sanctions on Russia, stalled nuclear talks with Iran, dwindling oil inventories and concerns about a surge in COVID-19 cases in China hitting demand have all propelled this week’s roller coaster.

Analysts said Putin’s remarks, reports by a Kremlin spokesman that the peace talks had made significant progress “wrong” and U.S. President Joe Biden calling Putin a “war criminal” all sparked a buying spree on Thursday.

Volatility has spooked participants out of the oil market, which in turn could exacerbate price swings, traders, bankers and analysts said.

“In such a tight market and such an illiquid paper market — you’re going to have some volatility,” Smirk said.

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