Oil prices ease on Gaza ceasefire possibility, dollar strength

Credit: REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK, March 21 (Reuters) - Oil prices sank in early Asian trading on Friday on the possibility of a nearing Gaza ceasefire, which could loosen global supply, at the same time a stronger U.S. dollar and faltering gasoline dampened demand sentiment.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 18 cents to $85.60 a barrel by 0011 GMT. U.S. crude CLc1 futures shed 19 cents to $80.88 per barrel.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believed talks in Qatar could reach a Gaza ceasefire agreement, increasing the prospect of more global oil supply.

Blinken met Arab foreign ministers and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo as negotiators in Qatar centred on a truce of about six weeks.

In the United States, the world's top oil consumer, gasoline product supplied, a proxy for demand, slipped below 9 million barrels for the first time in three weeks, indicating a possible slowdown in crude demand. EIA/S

U.S. gasoline futures RBc1 remained unchanged at $2.7227 a gallon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar, which trades inversely with oil prices, strengthened after the Swiss National Bank's surprise interest rate cut bolstered global risk sentiment, making crude more expensive to global buyers.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

((Laila.kearney@thomsonreuters.com))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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