Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Oil prices steadied at the weekend after dropping to near 15-month lows earlier in the session, supported by reports that top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia met to discuss ways to enhance market stability.
Brent crude futures, Nigeria’s benchmark, rose 26 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $73.95 a barrel while America’s West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) rose 19 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $67.80 a barrel when the initial shock began to subside.
Despite the price of the commodity rising above $100 in 2022, Nigeria has not been able to take advantage of the high prices to boost its economy, having been unable to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota for over 12 months.
In spite of current efforts to ramp up production which has been largely hobbled by oil theft and pipeline vandalism, Nigeria is still under-producing to the tune of 500,000 barrels per day.
But the recovery in the market came after prices plunged by nearly 5 per cent earlier to settle at the lowest levels in more than a year on concerns that a crisis of confidence in the banking sector could trigger a recession and cut demand.
Crude recovered some of its earlier losses along with benchmark equity indexes after Swiss regulators pledged a liquidity lifeline to Credit Suisse, which had earlier seen shares fall as much as 30 per cent.
Both crude benchmarks hit their lowest levels since December 2021 and have fallen for three straight days, Reuters reported.
The session saw Brent crude settle down $3.76, or 4.9 per cent lower, at $73.69 a barrel even as WTI closed down $3.72, or 5.2 per cent lower, at $67.61.
Brent had fallen by more than 10 per cent since Friday’s close, while U.S. crude was down more than 14 per cent.
But figures showed that China’s economic activity picked up in the first two months of 2023 after the end of strict COVID-19 containment measures, raising the hope of a bearish market.