Oil set for 4th weekly loss with rate hikes darkening outlook

Oil headed for a fourth weekly decline after a raft of interest-rate hikes around the world darkened the outlook for energy demand.

West Texas Intermediate futures edged higher toward $84 a barrel, but are still down more than 1 percent for the week. The Federal Reserve gave its clearest signal yet that it’s willing to tolerate a US recession as the trade-off for regaining control of inflation, while the UK, Norway and South Africa also raised rates.

Crude remains on track for its first quarterly loss in more than two years as concerns about a global economic slowdown weigh on the demand outlook. A stronger dollar added to bearish headwinds this week, making commodities priced in the currency more expensive for investors.

The blitz of rate hikes is unlikely to mark the end of a campaign to tame inflation, even as central banks run the risk of driving their economies into recession. That marks a dramatic change from a year ago when officials were publicly predicting the pandemic-era spike in prices would soon fade.

Nigeria’s Oil Minister Timipre Sylva said OPEC may be forced to make more output cuts if prices fall below current levels. The cartel and its allies earlier this month agreed to the first supply reduction in more than a year. The move showed OPEC+ was serious about managing markets, Saudi Arabia said.

“This is going to be a very, very volatile last quarter,” Amrita Sen, Energy Aspects Ltd. director of research, said in a Bloomberg television interview. There are “just too many different and contradictory factors driving prices right now,” she added.

European Union member states are racing to clinch a political agreement within weeks that would impose a price cap on Russian oil. The push gained momentum after President Vladimir Putin this week announced a mobilization of troops, escalating the war in Ukraine, and could feature as part of a new raft of sanctions to be proposed by the European Commission.

Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, meanwhile, reaffirmed their commitment to the OPEC+ alliance in a call on Thursday, the Kremlin said. The group has maintained ties with Russia, despite its war in Ukraine. Bloomberg News