UPDATE 9-Oil falls 2% as rate hikes loom and Russian flows stay strong


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      U.S. Fed, ECB and BoE all expected to raise rates this

      OPEC+ panel meeting unlikely to alter policy

      Oil rose initially after drone attack in Iran

 (Updates prices, adds inventory estimates)
    By Arathy Somasekhar
       HOUSTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices dipped 2% on
Monday, extending losses as looming increases to interest rates
by major central banks weighed on demand and Russian exports
remained strong.
    Investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates by
25 basis points on Wednesday, followed the day after by
half-point increases by the Bank of England and European Central
Bank. Any deviation from that script would be a shock.
    "We're seeing a 'risk back off' sentiment from the past two
weeks' rally on ideas that higher interest rates may slow demand
more quickly," said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president of
trading at BOK Financial.
    Brent  LCOc1  futures for March delivery fell $1.76, or
2.03%, to $84.90 a barrel. U.S. crude  CLc1  fell $1.78 to
$77.90 per barrel, a decline of 2.23% - its steepest decline in
nearly four weeks.
    The market also came under pressure from indications of
strong Russian supply despite a European Union ban and G7 price
cap imposed over its invasion of Ukraine. Both oil benchmarks
last week registered their first weekly loss in three.
    Besides the central bank meetings, a gathering on Wednesday
of key ministers from the OPEC+ group comprising the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and
allies led by Russia will also be in focus. 
    The OPEC+ panel meeting is unlikely to tweak output policy,
three OPEC+ delegates told Reuters on Monday.
    "The boat is not really in stormy seas right now. So why
rock something that's not moving about as it is," said Ole
Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
    OPEC+ could "surprise markets with a small cut", oil broker
PVM said, adding it was unlikely to tweak policy.
    Earlier on Monday, oil prices rose on tensions in the Middle
East after a drone attack in Iran and hopes for higher Chinese
    While it is not clear yet what's happening in Iran, any
escalation there has the potential to disrupt crude flow, said
Stefano Grasso, a senior portfolio manager at 8VantEdge in
    Hopes for a rise in Chinese demand have boosted oil in 2023.
The world's biggest crude importer pledged over the weekend to
promote a consumption recovery that would support demand.
    "Markets have priced-in rising demand mostly from China so
traders are taking a wait and see attitude for clear signs of a
demand pull," Kissler added.
    Traders also remained cautious on a hit to oil production
and transportation in Texas after the state oil regulator
advised pipeline operators to secure equipment and facilities
after forecasts for severe weather over the next several days.
    U.S. crude oil inventories are expected to have dipped by
about 1 million barrels in the week to Jan. 27, a preliminary
Reuters poll showed, while gasoline inventories were expected to
have gone up. 
 (Reporting by Alex Lawler
Additional reporting by Swati Verma, Florence Tan and Emily
Chow; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Bernadette Baum,
Philippa Fletcher)
 ((alex.lawler@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 4087; Reuters
Messaging: alex.lawler.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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