Brent oil futures fell 0.9% to $86.66 a barrel, just 3 cents higher than last week. WTI oil fell 1.6% to $79.68, down 2% from a week earlier.
Oil shipments from Russia’s Baltic ports are up 50% this month from December as sellers try to meet strong demand in Asia and capitalize on rising global energy prices.
“If Russian supplies remain strong next month, oil will likely continue to decline,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
OPEC+ officials will meet next week to discuss oil production levels, with sources from the oil producer group expecting no change to current production policy.
The next decision by the US Federal Reserve on interest rates will be made at a meeting on January 31 and February 1 against the backdrop of declining inflation and fourth quarter gross domestic product growth of 2.9% – higher than expected.
An increase in inventories this week in Cushing, the center of oil futures pricing on the NYMEX, by 4.2 million barrels also put pressure on the market.
In China, the number of COVID-19 cases is down 72% from its peak earlier this month, while daily deaths among COVID-19 patients in hospitals are down 79% from its peak, indicating a normalization of China’s economy and raises expectations for a recovery in oil demand.