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Barrel trades stable as Western leaders meet over Ukraine crisis

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By Rowena Edwards

LONDON, March 24 – Oil prices were stable on Thursday as the US president met with other Western leaders and investors waited to see how sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine would hold up.

* Benchmark Brent rose 0.3% to $121.95 a barrel by 11:11 GMT, after falling around $2 earlier in the session. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was little changed at $114.96 a barrel, after also losing $2.

* US President Biden met with NATO leaders in Brussels for emergency talks as the Ukraine war entered a second month. Biden and European heads of government have previously announced more sanctions against Russia.

* Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said the sanctions are likely to have a major market impact, because “they probably won’t get an oil embargo from the EU, as a number of countries that are heavily dependent on Russian oil – like Germany – have opposed it.

* The United States and the United Kingdom, much less dependent on Russian crude, have already announced sanctions on oil imports.

* Oil prices have made strong gains this week. Brent has risen more than 14 dollars and WTI more than 10 dollars per barrel.

* US crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) fell to its lowest level since May 2002, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday, surprising market players who had expected a modest rise. .

* Adding to concerns about available supply is the sluggishness of talks to reach an agreement between world powers and Iran on Iran’s nuclear activities, which has delayed the prospects of Iran’s crude returning to the market.

(Reporting added to Mohi Narayan and Liz Hampton; edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)

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