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Crude oil prices see small rise amid risk aversion

By Renzo Pipoli

March 11 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices saw a small rise Monday with concerns about future demand preventing a bigger gain.

West Texas Intermediate crude future prices rose 0.5 percent to $56.32 per barrel as of 8:35 a.m. EST, while Brent crude prices rose 0.7 percent to $66.19 per barrel.

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"The global macro front should be center stage this week we feel impacting energy prices," Tariq Zahir, managing member of investment advisory firm Tyche Capital Advisors, told UPI.

Investors have shown to be growing more risk averse with the S&P equity index declining and bond prices, which move in opposite direction to equity, rising.

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"With the S&P down every day last week and bond prices gaining a bid all week last week, the emergence of another risk off posture among asset classes could be taking form again," Zahir said.

James Hyerczyk, analyst at FxEmpire, said there is support for prices, but concerns about future crude oil demand in a potentially slowing global economy are also playing a role.

"Last week's price action indicates that although prices are being supported by the OPEC-led supply cuts and the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, there are major concerns over falling global demand," Hyerczyk said.

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WTI hit its highest level for the year at $57.26 per barrel on Feb. 22. WTI prices started the year at just over $45 per barrel. This compares with a high level for 2018 at $76 per barrel on Oct. 3.

There are concerns about Europe and China, he said.

"In the Euro Zone on Thursday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the European economy was in a period of continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty," Hyerczyk said.

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In February, China saw the biggest dollar-denominated export drop in three years.

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