Singapore, Feb. 9 (BNA): Oil prices were broadly steady on Thursday as the prospect of higher fuel demand in China as post-COVID restrictions reopen was offset by concerns that US crude inventories reached their highest levels in months, which could point to weaker demand. In China. not in the world. 1 economy.
Brent crude futures rose 1 cent to $85.10 a barrel by 0446 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 3 cents to $78.44 a barrel, Reuters reported.
Both benchmarks have gained more than 6% so far this week.
“U.S. crude oil…inventories continued to beat expectations, somewhat eroding bullish sentiment generated by hopes for demand recovery in China,” analysts from Haitong Futures said.
The Energy Information Administration said, on Wednesday, that crude oil inventories in the United States rose last week to their highest levels since June 2021, supported by higher production. US gasoline and distillate inventories also rose last week as demand remained subdued. Read more
Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday that more interest rate increases are on the cards as the US central bank continues its efforts to cool inflation, though none of them were ready to suggest that a hot January jobs report could prompt them to take a more aggressive stance. aggressive monetary policy. . Read more
But the prospect of increased demand from China has supported oil prices, as the world’s second-largest oil consumer ended more than three years of a strict coronavirus non-spread policy involving citywide lockdowns and mass testing in December.
“Travel increased sharply in China after the Lunar New Year holiday. We expect Chinese oil consumption to increase by about 1.0 million barrels per day this year, with strong growth emerging late in the first quarter,” said Daniel Hynes and Sony Kumari. Analysts from ANZ Bank in a note on Thursday.
All in all, this should increase global demand by 2.1 million barrels per day in 2023.”
Meanwhile, BP Azerbaijan declared force majeure on shipments of Azerbaijani crude from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on February 7 after a massive earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early on Monday. The disaster had halted operations in Ceyhan and disrupted flows of crude oil from Iraq and Azerbaijan.