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Oil treads water as dollar hits November highs amid Fed, global concerns - Crude prices remained in flat to negative territory on Monday as the dollar hit a 10-month high amid a dearth of buying leads in oil, after last week’s loss triggered by concerns that the Federal Reserve could turn excessively hawkish with U.S. interest rates.

News that Russia had tweaked its export ban only weighed further on a listless market, though the change announced by Moscow itself was modest enough not to alter the underlying theme of the ban — which was positive to oil — argued those who were long crude.

Russia approved some changes to its fuel export ban, lifting the restrictions for fuel used as bunkering for some vessels and diesel with high sulfur content, Reuters reported, citing a government document. The export ban on all types of gasoline and high-quality diesel, announced last Thursday, remains in place, the report said.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude for delivery in November settled at $89.68 per barrel, down 35 cents, or 0.4%, on the day. WTI earlier hit an intraday high of $91.31, after Tuesday’s 10-month high of $93.74. The U.S. crude benchmark settled last week down 0.8%, after a cumulative gain of almost 14% over three weeks.

London-traded Brent for November settled at $93.29 a barrel up, up 2 cents, or 0.02%. Brent rose to as high as $94.64 earlier in the day, after Tuesday’s 10-month high of $95.96. The global oil benchmark settled last week down 0.7%, after a cumulative gain of nearly 11% over three weeks.

On a broader span, crude prices have been on a tear since early June, with the rally accelerating in the past month after major oil exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia said they would collude to remove a combined 1.3 million barrels from the market each day until the end of the year.

But while the Saudi-Russian cuts and other production reductions would remove a total of about 3.0 million barrels from supply — or about 3% of daily requirement — some who follow the trade warn that inflationary pressure brought on by oil’s 30% rally over just three months could limit the market’s upside.

Dollar spikes on Fed, global growth concerns

The Dollar Index on Monday extended its run up since last week, hitting its highest since November. A stronger dollar discourages buying of dollar-denominated commodities, including crude, by holders of other currencies.

The dollar has seen a resurgence since the Fed last week projected another quarter-percentage point rate increase by the year-end, despite leaving rates unchanged for September at a policy meeting on Wednesday.

“King Dollar will remain a headwind for oil,” said Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “As the risks of $100 oil grow, energy traders are awaiting a fresh catalyst to ​spark the move.”

Fed Chair Powell told a news conference last week that energy-driven inflation was one of the central bank’s bigger concerns.

“We are prepared to raise rates further, if appropriate," Powell said. "The fact that we decided to maintain the policy rate at this meeting doesn't mean we have decided that we have or have not at this time reached that stance of monetary policy that we are seeking."

The Fed had raised interest rates 11 times between February 2022 and July 2023, adding a total of 5.25 percentage points to a prior base rate of just 0.25%.

Economists fear that the Fed’s renewed hawkish stance will dampen global growth though many also agree that a lid has to be put on oil prices if the Fed is to achieve its annual inflation target of 2%.

(Peter Nurse and Ambar Warrick contributed to this)

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