Oil transcends $110 a barrel with Inflation risk as a cherry on top and 60 million barrels won’t be enough to save the day   

2 March 2022: The International Energy Agency (IEA) met on Tuesday, where 31 member countries jointly decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves "to send a unified and strong message to global oil markets that there will be no shortfall in supplies as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine," according to an IEA press release.

Despite this, the crude oil prices shot up on Wednesday, snowballing nearly 5% riding on the back of the threat of supply crunch. International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were up 4.96% at $110.18 a barrel at 11:22 p.m. EST, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 4.93% at $108.51 a barrel.

Russia being the third largest producer of oil after US and Saudi Arabia, the fear of supply disruption is very real owing to the crisis in Ukraine, which would definitely not help matters when it comes to the already angry consumer inflation.

"Markets dismissed the notion that 60 million barrels of strategic reserves released will be consequential to the risks of Russian supply jeopardized given Russia pumps more than that in just six days," said Vishnu Varathan, Mizuho Bank's head of economics and strategy, in a Wednesday note.

"Inflation risks have not in any way receded," Varathan added. "If anything, it has been brutally accentuated by supply shocks posed by Russia.”

Both Brent and US WTI crude oil prices are up over 40% year-to-date. Last week itself crude oil hit $100 a barrel since 2014, after Putin announced the unprovoked military assault against Ukraine.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia will be meeting later on Wednesday to discuss April's oil output.

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