Oil markets rallied alongside a broader market rebound while rising tensions in the Russia-Ukraine conflict caused jitters in the market about potential supply disruptions.
Futures in New York rose as much as 2% with the global benchmark touching $90 a barrel for the first time in seven years on Wednesday. Inventories at the largest US oil hub fell 1.8 million barrels for the third week in a row. The oil market’s structure has surged in recent days, signaling tight supply.
Prices are also moving on mounting concern over a possible Russian incursion into Ukraine, with US President Joe Biden saying he’d consider sanctioning Vladimir Putin if the Russian leader orders an invasion. While a potential conflict carries large risks for financial markets – especially energy commodities such as natural gas and oil – Goldman Sachs’s base case is for no disruption to supplies.
Crude is having a volatile week, slumping Monday then rebounding Tuesday. Prices are at a seven-year high with demand continuing to recover from the pandemic as mobility picks up. A string of Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have forecast oil will hit $100 a barrel this year as the global market tightens.
“The market has basically been in persistent undersupply since mid-2020, thanks to OPEC+ cuts and a continued oil demand recovery,” said Helge Andre Martinsen, a senior oil analyst at DNB ASA. “We fully acknowledge that the world is not running out of oil resources, but we might enter an oil-market squeeze triggered by too little investment and oil demand rebounding quickly.”
- Brent for March settlement rose 2% to $89.97 a barrel at 10:50 a.m. in New York.
- West Texas Intermediate for March delivery advanced 2% to $87.30 a barrel.
Also in focus Wednesday is the Federal Reserve’s first policy-setting meeting of the year. Officials are expected to reaffirm their commitment to containing roaring inflation by ending stimulus and raising interest rates over 2022.
Chevron raised its quarterly dividend 6% as the company attempts to share the benefits of rising oil prices with shareholders.
Chevron will pay $1.42 a share, up 8 cents from the previous payout, the California-based company said in a statement. The dividend is payable on March 10.
It’s the 35th consecutive year that Chevron has increased its dividend, making the company, along with rival Exxon Mobil, one of the S&P 500 Index’s few so-called Dividend Aristocrats.
Unlike their European peers BP and Shell, the American majors didn’t cut their payouts when oil prices plunged in 2020 due to Covid-19.