Oil prices are lower, likely weighed by the latest COVID-19 developments in China, ING says.

“The rising number of cases has seen the city of Shenzhen go into lockdown,” the Dutch bank points out. “This will raise concern over the potential hit to demand. But also importantly, it suggests that China is not ready to let go of its zero-COVID policy,” it says.

ING also notes ICE Brent speculators decreased their net long positions last week, signaling increased risk-aversion in the oil futures market.


Early Monday morning, April Brent retreated 2.8% to $109.49 per barrel, while WTI declined 2.9% to $106.18 per barrel, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, which Moscow calls a “special operation,” has roiled energy markets globally. Brent last week was down 4.8% after hitting $139.13 on March 7. US crude recorded a weekly drop of 5.7% after touching a high of $130.50 on March 7. Both contracts last touched those price peaks in 2008. O/R

Investors have been concerned about a tighter oil market following Russia’s invasion. Prices fell last week as traders assessed potential improvements to the supply outlook that has been disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is showing signs it might be willing to have substantive negotiations over Ukraine, even as Moscow is intent on “destroying” its neighbor, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Sunday.

Russia-Ukraine talks are not taking place right now but will continue on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Sunday by the RIA news agency.

Peskov made the comments after Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine and Russia were actively conducting talks on Sunday.

Russia said on Sunday it was counting on China to help it withstand the economic blow from Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, but the United States warned Beijing not to provide that lifeline.


US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who is due to meet with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday, warned Beijing it would “absolutely” face consequences if it helped Moscow evade sweeping sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

– Reuters contributed to this report.