Oil dips as whipsaw quarter comes to a close

Getty Images

Crude futures dipped in volatile end-of-quarter trading on Monday, pressured by news Russia was withdrawing some troops on the Ukrainian border and concerns about the struggling U.S. labor market voiced by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Crude futures had seesawed before being weighed down by news that Russia is withdrawing a motorized infantry battalion from a region near Ukraine's eastern border, according to a Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson quoted by state news agencies.

U.S. April RBOB gasoline and heating oil pushed lower as both refined products contracts approached expiration on Monday.

Janet Yellen, in her first public speech since taking the reins at the Fed, said on Monday the U.S. central bank's "extraordinary" commitment to boosting the economy, especially the still struggling labor market, will be needed for some time to come.

was down 30 cents under $108, having fallen to near $107 earlier. U.S. crude for May settled down 9 cents at $101.58 a barrel.

Also helping keep oil prices in check on Monday was news Iraq has started production at the giant West Qurna-2 field, moving closer to its output target of 4 million barrels per day (bpd) this year.

Front-month U.S. crude was on track to post a three percent gain for the quarter. But Brent was set to post a 2.5 percent loss for the quarter, after two consecutive quarterly gains, as rising supply from Iraq and increased exports from Iran have offset supply disruptions in Libya and Nigeria.