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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower

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Crude oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday amid fresh concerns over demand from China, where there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases, and on easing worries about supply disruptions.

Expectations of positive developments in the Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks eased fears of further supply disruptions and weighed on oil prices.

Traders also looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement, due on Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to hike rates by 25 basis points. The focus will be on the central bank’s accompanying statement, which is expected to provide clues about future rate hikes.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended lower by $6.57 or about 6.4% at $96.44 a barrel, more than 25% off a recent high of $130.50 a barrel. WTI crude futures shed about 5.8% on Monday.

Brent crude futures ended down by about 6.5% at $99.91 a barrel today, way down from a high of $139.26 a barrel it touched recently.

U.S. officials reportedly indicated that Russia sent signals of its readiness to engage in deep talks about a ceasefire deal.

US President Joe Biden is expected to meet NATO leaders in Brussels next week to discuss the Ukraine war, according to a Reuters report.

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