19.01.2023 11:55 PM
News from China support oil market optimism

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Oil prices significantly fell on Thursday morning, but in the course of the afternoon trading it has moved up again. News about the increase of fuel reserves in the US, statements of Federal Reserve representatives and news from China influenced the market.

London-traded Brent crude for March delivery was $85.60 per barrel by 3:35 p.m. London time, which was 0.81% above the final reading of the previous trading day.

February, the most-actively traded contract on New York West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude settled at $80.37 per barrel, up 0.66% from the previous session's close.

On Wednesday, oil quotes were extremely volatile: prices first hit the highs since early December, but later began to decline amid a speech by James Bullard, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Bullard told The Wall Street Journal that the US central bank would do well to keep raising the benchmark interest rate in America to finally ease the inflationary frenzy. Understandably, such words once again raise fears that the Fed could raise rates again by 50 basis points at its next meeting.

Additionally, the American Petroleum Institute (API) data released on Thursday night said that it is looking at a buildup of 7.6 million barrels last week. By the way, a week earlier, oil inventories in the US grew by 14.87 million barrels.

Official data from the U.S. Department of Energy, which was released today, showed that U.S. crude inventories rose by 8.408 million barrels for the week ended January 13, although analysts had expected a decrease by 0.6 million. At the same time, oil production remained unchanged at 12.2 million barrels per day compared to the previous week.

Oil quotes went up on Thursday thanks to news from China. As one of the biggest oil consumers in the world, China finally lifted some quarantine restrictions, which means the country's economy will be able to develop at a faster pace and the demand for fuel will rise. Today we are just witnessing a sharp increase in crude oil imports to China and a noticeable decrease in exports. This can only mean one thing - China is really preparing for a significant increase in demand. There is a high probability that in the first quarter there will be a large-scale impact on global oil prices.

In the meantime, Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration opposes lowering the price limit of Russian oil. The agency clarifies that Russian Urals crude oil is currently trading below world prices and the ceiling of $60 per barrel.

Recall that on December 5, sanctions of Western countries against Russian oil came into effect. Thus, the European Union refused to accept Russian oil, which is delivered to the European continent by sea, as well as together with the G7 countries and Australia imposed price limits on its maritime transportation. In other words, Russian oil which costs more than $60 a barrel is not allowed to be transported and insured. There is a high probability that since the 5th of February the same measures will be introduced for oil products. The Kremlin, in response, has issued a decree that bans Russian oil sales to countries that put a cap on their sales price, and this will start on February 1.

Andreeva Natalya,
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