Oil prices fell by nearly $1 a barrel on Friday as comments from US central bank officials indicated higher-for-longer interest rates, which could hinder demand from the world's largest crude consumers. Brent crude futures settled at $82.79 a barrel, down $1.09, or 1.3%. US West Texas Intermediate crude closed at $78.26 a barrel, down $1.00, or 1.3%. For the week, Brent logged a 0.2% loss, while WTI recorded a rise of 0.2%. Dallas Federal Reserve President Lorie Logan on Friday said it was unclear whether monetary policy was tight enough to bring down inflation to the US central bank's 2% goal. Higher interest rates typically slow economic activity and weaken oil demand. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic also told Reuters he thought inflation was likely to slow under current monetary policy, enabling the central bank to begin reducing its policy rate in 2024 - though perhaps by only a quarter of a percentage point and not until the final months of the year. The US dollar strengthened after the Fed officials' comments, making greenback-denominated commodities more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices rose last week on stronger demand amid high temperatures in north and south China, pushing European buyers to bid at relatively narrow discounts to attract sellers. The average LNG price for June delivery into north-east Asia rose to $10.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), from $10.40 per mmBtu in the previous week, industry sources estimated. However, South Korean and Japanese buyers seemed content to hold back from the spot market and rely on high terminal inventories to meet an upsurge in domestic demand. Meanwhile, Chevron Australia said last week it was working to resume full production at its Gorgon gas facility after a mechanical fault caused one LNG production train to go offline. Analysts expect the affected production train to be offline for up to five weeks. In the United States, analysts said that production has risen at Freeport LNG export terminal, with feedgas supply levels in recent days suggesting the equivalent of two trains at the three-train facility were operating at near-capacity. In Europe, gas storage facilities were last seen nearly 63% full, leaving the continent in a strong position during the net injection season.

This article was supplied by the Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development.