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Oil Gains Slightly As Saudi And Russian Officials Meet

Prices of Brent crude and WTI have turned positive, with both gaining around 1% as U.S. regional banks rallied on help from big banks, and as battered Credit Suisse was offered a $54-billion lifeline from the Swiss National Bank.

Oil prices also gained some currency to climb back from near 15-month lows after reports emerged that Saudi Arabia and Russia have met to discuss market stability. 

At 2:53 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Brent crude was trading at $74.50, up 1.10%, while WTI was up 0.83% at $68.17.

The market has also been watching to see whether the Biden administration would move on oil repurchases to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Back in October, the White House said it would repurchase crude when prices were “at or below about $67-72 per barrel, adding to global demand when prices are around that range”. 

That window may close quickly.  

Around 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, regional banks in the U.S. started to rally after heavy losses in the earlier part of the day. 

The rally was a response to two developments. First, Credit Suisse shares surged Wednesday after the Swiss Central Bank agreed to lend it $54 billion after shares plunged 30% on Tuesday. The central bank pledge sent Credit Suisse shares into fast recovery mode, pushing them up 33%. 

Second, a report emerged from the Wall Street Journal that big banks, including Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Farbo were considering rescue bids for First Republic (FRC) after shares tumbled Tuesday and early Wednesday in a contagion that has spread to smaller regional from the failure last week of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank. 

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On the OPEC+ front, reports that Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman met with Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak in Riyadh “woke up the bulls in the market”, Reuters cited Again Capital partner John Kilduff as saying. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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