Oil futures traded lower Monday, pulling back from seven-year highs after Russia’s top diplomat urged further talks with NATO and the European Union over Ukraine.
The U.S. and global crude benchmarks ended at seven-year highs Friday after Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could occur “any day now.”
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery
fell 73 cents, or 0.8%, to $92.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. April WTI
the most actively traded contract for the U.S. benchmark, was down 80 cents, or 0.9%, at $90.62 a barrel.
Speaking at the beginning of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Moscow should continue to talk with the U.S. and its allies even though they have rejected Russia’s main Russian security demands.
The remarks appeared to trigger some relief across financial markets, with U.S. stock-index futures turning slightly higher. Treasury yields, which had been pulled down as investors sought safety in traditional havens like government bonds, also ticked higher.
“It is pretty clear that developments related to Russia/Ukraine will be crucial for price direction in the short term, not just for oil but for broader commodity markets,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
Lavrov’s remarks came after the weekend saw no signs of a diplomatic breakthrough over Ukraine. Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops on the country’s border but has denied plans to invade.
A Russian invasion of Ukraine is seen as likely pushing oil above $100 a barrel, at least temporarily, while Russia’s role as a key energy supplier to Europe could make for a broader energy shock.