Oil Prices Rise $1 as Greenback Drops on US Rate Hike

March 23, 2023
oil prices driving up Trump

By Adedapo Adesanya

Oil prices rose more than $1 on Wednesday as the US Dollar slid to a six-week low after the Federal Reserve delivered an expected small rate hike.

Brent crude futures rose by $1.37 or 1.8 per cent to settle at $76.69 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) ended $1.23 or 1.8 per cent higher at $70.90 per barrel.

The US central bank policy-setting committee raised interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point in a unanimous decision on Wednesday, lifting its benchmark overnight interest rate to the 4.75 per cent-5.00 per cent range.

The Fed indicated it was on the verge of pausing further increases in borrowing costs amid recent turmoil in financial markets spurred by the collapse of two US banks.

As a result of this, the US Dollar fell to its lowest level since February 2 against a basket of other currencies, supporting oil demand by making crude cheaper for buyers using other currencies.

The Dollar index last fell 0.63 per cent to 102.500, with the Euro up 0.87 per cent to $1.0861 as it dropped 0.82 per cent against the Japanese Yen, while the Pound Sterling was last trading at $1.2268, up 0.41 per cent on the day.

The markets— including the oil market—had projected a quarter-point rise in US rates, but investors were also paying close attention to US Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments about the crisis that has rattled global banks this month.

The oil markets shrugged off the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly data that showed crude stockpiles rose 1.1 million barrels last week to a 22-month high.

This is compared with a build of 1.6 million barrels for the previous week.

The authority also reported major draws in fuel inventories for the week of March 17, with both gasoline and distillate fuel stocks down.

US crude oil stocks stood at 481.2 million barrels at the end of last week, which was about 8 per cent above the five-year average for this time of the year.

The official EIA data showed a smaller build than the 3.3 million barrels increase reported on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies like Russia, a group known as OPEC+, is likely to stick to its deal on output cuts of 2 million barrels per day until the end of the year, despite the plunge in crude prices.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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