Oil prices fell by approximately 3 dollars on Thursday

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Oil prices fell about $3 a barrel on Thursday, on higher U.S. gasoline inventories and after a key interest rate hike by the European Central Bank (ECB) raised concerns about demand, while the resumption of oil supplies from Libya and the resumption of Russian gas flows to Europe eased supply concerns, reports Reuters.

Brent crude futures lost $2.44, or 2.3%, to $104.48 a barrel by 16:24 GMT (19:24 Romanian time). US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $3.06, or 3.1%, at $96.82.

Both contracts fell by more than $5 during trading.

U.S. gasoline futures fell 15 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $3.13 a gallon after a 3.5 million barrel rise in storage last week, U.S. government data showed on Wednesday. far exceeding analysts’ forecasts.

“The main protagonist of oil is gasoline, there are perceptions about the destruction of gasoline demand,” said Robert Yawger, managing director of futures contracts at Mizuho.

Volume in oil futures was also weak and prices volatile as traders tried to match weaker energy demand with tighter supply following the loss of Russian barrels following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Flows through Russia’s Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, were partially resumed on Thursday. after the pipeline was shut down for maintenance on July 11.

The pipeline was already running at reduced volumes following a dispute triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The resumption of gas flows through Nord Stream 1 seems to conjure up images of a more conciliatory position from Russia regarding the continued flow of crude oil and products to Europe in the coming weeks/month,” said Jim Ritterbusch, of Ritterbusch and Associates, in a note to clients.

The European Central Bank joined many other central banks in raising interest rates on Thursday, focusing on fighting runaway inflation rather than the economic downturn that can hurt oil demand.

The Bank of Japan has maintained ultra-low interest rates to stimulate economic growth.