ANKARA – Oil prices edged slightly lower from rises of almost US$2 a barrel to reach a two-month high during previous trade due to a weaker US dollar, the increasing possibility of a European Union (EU) ban on Russian oil and the upcoming summer driving season in the US.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at US$113.89 per barrel at 0704 GMT for a 0.22 per cent decrease after closing the previous session at US$114.14 a barrel, reported Anadolu Agency.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at US$113.77 per barrel at the same time for a 0.28 per cent loss after the previous session closed at US$114.09 a barrel.
Both benchmarks rose over US$114 despite experts predicting the impossibility of any EU official ban on Russian oil and gas in the near future, with some countries having valid reasons for its rejection.
Experts say insurance measures would be more salient and make it costlier for Russia to export its crude, which would have a more severe impact than other measures taken so far.
Price rises were tempered on reports of EU talks with Israel on the prospect of importing Israeli natural gas liquefied at an Egyptian facility, a move that would decrease the bloc’s dependence on Russian natural gas and increase the likelihood of an EU ban on Russian resources.
However, crude oil prices, which are indexed to the US dollar, saw some support with the decreasing value of the greenback.
The US dollar index, which measures the value of the American dollar against a basket of currencies, including the Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, declined 0.21 per cent to 101.62.
Meanwhile, over 39 million Americans are expected to hit the roads with the start of the summer driving season in the US, raising hopes of increased demand in the country.
The Memorial Day weekend, which falls on May 30 in the US, marks the start of the country’s summer driving season.