Oil Extends Drop on Mideast Cease-Fire Prospects, US Inflation

Oil Extends Drop on Mideast Cease-Fire Prospects, US Inflation

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(Bloomberg) — Oil extended a decline on the prospect a cease-fire in the Middle East will ease tensions and as signs of elevated inflation weigh on the outlook for US demand ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting.

Brent crude traded near $85 a barrel after losing 1% on Tuesday, while West Texas Intermediate was above $81. Volumes were thin in Asian trading, with public holidays in countries including China and Singapore.

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Israel will consider joining cease-fire talks with Hamas when the militant group responds to the latest internationally mediated proposal for a temporary truce and hostage release, state-run Kan News reported. 

Crude is starting May on the back foot after a rocky April that saw it surge to the highest since October following Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel. While OPEC+ supply curbs are also bolstering prices, uncertainty over US monetary policy and softness in fuel markets including diesel are adding to headwinds.

“The potential for a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas has eased concerns of an escalation of the conflict and any possible disruptions to supply,” ANZ Banking Group Ltd. analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said in a note. “Continued signs of inflation also raised concerns about demand for crude oil. This comes ahead of the US driving season, where demand for gasoline rises strongly.”

Meanwhile, in another sign of bearishness, US crude stockpiles increased 4.9 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. That would be the fifth expansion in six weeks if confirmed by official data later Wednesday.

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