Oil pump cylinders are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, Argentina January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

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  • Venezuelan Maduro talks with expected opposition – sources
  • Powell says the Fed will ‘keep pushing’ rates higher
  • EU ministers fail to convince Hungary to accept Russian oil ban
  • US crude inventories rose last week – poll

NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) – Oil prices fell 2% on Tuesday, after hitting seven-week highs earlier in the session, following the United States’ announcement of an easing certain restrictions imposed on the Venezuelan government.

Prices deflated further following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that there may be economic difficulties in bringing inflation down. The US central bank will “keep pushing” to tighten US monetary policy until it is clear that inflation is down, he said. Read more

“Some of these comments dampened the enthusiasm of buyers on the oil side,” said Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn.

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Brent crude fell $2.31, or 2%, to settle at $111.93 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.8, or 1.6% , to settle at $112.40 a barrel.

Reuters reported that sources said the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden would allow U.S. oil company Chevron Corp (CVX.N) to negotiate with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government on Tuesday, temporarily lifting a ban on such talks. . Read more

Prior to that, Brent had hit a session high of $115.69, the highest since March 28. WTI had hit $115.56 a barrel, the highest since March 24.

News of EU foreign ministers’ failure on Monday to pressure Hungary to lift its veto on the proposed oil embargo bolstered those session highs. But some diplomats are now pointing to a May 30-31 summit as the time for an agreement on a phased ban on Russian oil. Read more

Figures showed that in April OPEC and allied nations, including Russia, produced well below required levels under a deal to gradually ease record production cuts made at the worst of the pandemic in 2020. read more

Non-Russian deliveries to the Polish port of Gdansk hit their highest level in at least seven years this month as refiners in eastern Germany and Poland shifted.

“At the end of the day, it’s a supply story,” said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at City Index. “Unless OPEC and its allies increase production and quickly, it’s hard to see how prices can come down significantly.”

U.S. industry data on inventories was due later Tuesday, with weekly reports expected to show crude inventories rising and gasoline inventories falling.

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Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London, Isabel Kua in Singapore and Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo Editing by Marguerita Choy, Louise Heavens and David Gregorio

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